I have read some spoilers for this already and I cannot wait to get my paws on an actual copy! Only another month til it's release! Wheeee!
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As we sat in class today I was chatting and trading cheerful insults with the table opposite while I waited for you, or one of the others at the table, to tell me what your internet searches had found on our topic. You teased me for me noisiness, asking if we were going to get any work done. At the time I made some snarky remark but I felt like I'd been slapped, and a gut-dropping, chest-tightening sensation of shame. I had been silenced and I wondered if my cheeks were flaming because they sure felt like it.We set about our work and somehow I managed to stay light, and over the half hour or so I managed to get back my equilibrium, but you didn't notice that whenever one of you spoke I hurried to shut up, not wanting to be accused of being the noisy one or talking over any of you or controlling the conversation in any way.When the teacher asked who in our group was going to present our ideas to the class I tried to make eye contact with all or you. I said your name; "you do it" but the three of you refused to meet my eye. This is important - I was comfortable talking for our group but I not only checked if someone wanted to do it, I pushed each of you individually to get up, not wanting to get in the way of a learning opportunity for any of you. None of you declined politely, you all flatly refused to engage in any way, leaving me with choice of pretending I didn't exist and hoping the teacher would pick one of you, or just getting up and doing the job we had to do. As you know, I got up, muttering curses in the direction of the table but as I sat down in front of the class you said, if a quiet voice designed to carry, "she loves it" and again I felt my cheeks flare. Our teacher, who had commented to the class on the fact none of you would make eye contact and that your refusal to volunteer had made it my obligations, then made a joke about you having given up your right to speak when your inaction forced me to volunteer. And that was the point when I nearly lost my cool altogether. I think I spat 'when a woman says no she means no' at you, which wouldn't have made sense to you at the time but what you did was remove the power of choice from me, forcing me to do something against my will, and then despite evidence to the contrary you said that I loved what you had done to me. Again I was humiliated, but because I'm really good at faking it, and because there was a class full of people watching me, waiting for me to talk I pulled myself together, squashed those feelings of betrayal down into a box in my already broken heart and proceeded to comfortably lead the discussion for the next few minutes.I know you didn't mean to upset me or publicly humiliate me but you need to know that your words have weight, your teasing and jokes can trigger nasty feeling from the past and that patterns of speech and behaviour have context in power imbalances. Gender inequality is a real thing and if you can't see it it's because your privilege has allowed your blindness, not because it doesn't exist.
There are known knowns. These are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we know we don't know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we don't know we don't know.
- Donald RumsfeldWriting it down makes it obvious. Organising is channeling the anxiety related to the vast quantity of really major unknowns in my future (including the 'unknown unknowns' - worrying about them came free with my anxiety!). It is also serving to focus me on something I can do, although it distracts me from more useful pursuits (I'm an expert procrastinator but this is ridiculous. I have heaps of uni work!) and it's a weird form of escapism, just like looking at IKEA catalogs where we imagine perfect lives for ourselves filled with light and swept floors.
|The girls saw the treat bucket!|
Read this and stop beating yourself up about those times when you feel like you aren't 'enough' - I was an awkward child who didn't learn femininity early and it made my life as a kid pretty difficult (there are quite a few FB friends who knew me in primary school and can attest to that).
So next time you, your female friend, or someone your read about doesn't become 'a badass girl-boss' when confronted with male privilege, offer that person compassion rather than condemnation (especially if it's you! that's the hardest!). Fighting the kyriarchy is a long game and it's OK to play to your strengths and disengage in unwinnable battles and conserve your energy for fights that you have some chance of winning.
Learn about oppression and keep your compassion and you are fighting the good fight my loves.
Dear Jxxx and Txxx
Thanks for meeting with me - this is just a follow up to that conversation. Firstly, let me thank you both for working with our kids this year. Axxx and Kxxx have been extremely happy with their classes and they both have great respect for you, their teachers. I feel like you’ve really heard our concerns that at present, homework is detrimental to their learning and causing distress for both boys at home. Both Sxxx and I feel strongly about this, and he’s asked me to make it clear that this email comes from us both.
Accordingly, we’ve discussed homework with the children and the two things they feel are valuable are reading and spelling words. They will also be expected to continue with any tests and work done by the other kids. They will also participate in big projects ('all about me', dioramas etc). As a family, we’ve decided to make any other homework optional and focus on more holistic learning opportunities at home instead. For example, they will need to cook dinner one night per week. My hope is that this can help them with maths (shopping, measuring ingredients), literacy (reading recipes, interpreting recipe information), science (heat/oxidation reactions, physics of liquids etc, biology, ecology), PHPE (nutrition, self-efficacy and fine motor skills improvement).
We want to decrease our family conflict around homework, leave space in all our lives for other pursuits, including letting kids be kids and leaving them outside to play freely as well as relieve you both of one set of homework-marking.
Thanks so much for reading this. I'd very much like this to be the start of a conversation about homework, and I'm more than happy to work with you to ensure there is minimal disruption to your classroom.