Category Archives: 1.1 Social Justice

National Coming Out Day.

With yesterday being National Coming Out Day, now seems a better time than ever to discuss my story.

Here goes…

 

 

I’m straight.

 

From a young age, I did not feel like there was something very different about how I acted or who I liked. I was not worried about sharing who I really was for fear of being judged. I did not feel shame or guilt for how I felt and who I was.

This is an aspect of my life that does not define me as a person. I am more than my sexual identity.

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Why am I making a blog post about this? Surely I know that I don’t need to come out if I’m straight? I should be proud of who I am.

This is my point. If I don’t need to go through the fear of coming out, why should anyone else? Everyone should be proud of who they are. Differences are what make us special and it frustrates me that injustices such as this still exist in society today. If no one will judge me for who I want to love, then why do so many people still have such negative opinions in regards to who other people love?

Don’t get me wrong, National Coming Out day is such a positive thing in terms of LGBTQ+ awareness. But why, in this day and age, do people still need to ‘come out’ as if they are sharing something shameful? Why does society accept me by the simple fact that I am a cis white heterosexual, whereas my friends who are Bi, Gay or Trans have to suffer with feelings of oppression and judgement? Why do they often feel like they need to hide who they really are? Each and every one of them are amazing people who are not defined by their sexual identity. Why do we live in a society where minorities such as these are often oppressed instead of celebrated?

Every member of the LGBTQ+ community has felt fear of not being accepted at some point in their life. I really believe that as teachers, we will have a real responsibility to promote equality to our classes from a young age. I aim to strive towards the promotion of individuality. It is our job as future teachers, to ensure that we raise awareness of everyone’s differences in a positive light. Not just to eradicate homophobia alone, but to make each and every pupil in that class feel valued. It is simple things such as multi-racial dolls, to books with same-sex couples and characters who challenge gender stereotypes. Nothing negative would come from this. It would simply encourage the next generation to be more accepting of each other and encourage them to express who they are and be proud of their identity.

The importance of addressing differences in a positive way is vital in order to shape open-minded adults of the future. Differing views and opinions are often very healthy. Different appearances, backgrounds and personalities are what make us unique. I believe that encouraging each child to be proud of their individual charisma and talents will encourage nerve and resilience in later life.

Quoting my previous blog post, I really want to reiterate this important message:

“By acknowledging and promoting the fact that everyone is different; everyone in turn, will become equal.”

 

You’re Not A Feminist?

If you believe in equality you are a feminist.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not ignorant to the fact that there is a stigma surrounding feminism. Many people, through no fault of their own, have a very warped view of what feminism actually is.

I did a quick Google Image search of “Feminism ClipArt” and some of the photos that I found clearly highlight the negative social constructs that society and the media have created.

 

This is not feminism.

Feminism still has a long way to go until it will be accepted and destigmatised. The road to equality will be a long and tiresome one but I am confident that it will be worth it in the end. Not just for feminists- for women- but for everyone. In today’s society, differences are picked out instead of promoted. Individuality is questioned and uniqueness is often scorned over.

  • Feminism is wanting your daughter to feel as strong and as appreciated as her brothers.
  • It is being a man who wants his female co-workers to receive equal pay.
  • It is not needing to worry about being slated for deciding to keep your maiden name when you get married.
  • It is wanting to be comfortable wearing what makes you happy when you go out, without fear of looking like you are “asking for it”.

It is feeling valued, feeling strong and most importantly, feeling equal.

Yes, every movement has radical members and unfortunately, this small group of people within the feminist movement has created warped perceptions of feminism. Being a feminist does not mean that you hate men or that you think you are better than men. In fact, many feminist are indeed men. Feminists do not want any special treatment. Just equal treatment.

 

Feminism = Equality

 

Although I wanted to keep this blog post fairly short, I feel passionate about the fact that this conversation should continue. I understand that it can be very difficult to overcome such a strong stigma. I hope that this may have somehow changed someone’s perception in some way, shape or form.

If you haven’t already seen the video below, I would highly recommend it. Emma Watson is a fantastic example of a feminist. She is not radical. She is not a misandrist. She outlines the importance of raising awareness and strives for equality. It’s well worth a watch.

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I was inspired to write this blog post after our recent workshop looking into what gender is and how it may affect us. It really got me thinking about how far we have come in terms of equality, but also how far we still have to go. We are brought up in a society which ingrains us with stereotypes and social constructs. Simple phrases such as “big brave boy” and “throw like a girl” indoctrinate children from a young age and I believe that as future teachers, we need to adapt in order to inspire the future generation to be whatever they want to be and not to feel constricted to a certain group or construct.

It’s so important that we remind children that they are unique and should be proud of that.

By acknowledging and promoting the fact that everyone is different; everyone in turn, will become equal.

How Our Resource Allocation Task Reflects Society

The resource allocation task seemed a simple endeavour. However, little did we know how thought provoking such a small and seemingly simple task could be.

As one of the many enthusiastic freshers in the room, I was eager to begin the activity. The task was to create a tool for a new student, using the materials provided in our assigned envelopes. As I emptied our group’s envelope to reveal three paper clips, a pencil, some blue tack and a lone post-it note, I realised that we had a challenge ahead. Not to worry though- everyone would surely be in the same boat and we could display our creativity with the little resources that we all received- couldn’t we?

All of a sudden, I could see that other members of my group were clearly perturbed by the assortment of materials that other groups had at their tables. Colourful paper, post-its galore, scissors, tape and an array of markers nonetheless! The dismay around the table as my fellow group members frantically shook the envelope in case we were mistaken, was a pitiful sight to say the least. Why did the others get more than us?

Although it was soon clear to me that there must be some sort of psychological test taking place, I was determined to make the most of our compromised situation.

It cannot be ignored that through our hardship, my group did bond to a degree. It’s safe to say that we were quite proud of ourselves, having made a 3D map from virtually nothing. Although it wasn’t anything special, we were confident that the hard work that we put in would surely be acknowledged. Therefore, I’m sure that it was clear to Brenda that the experiment was successful by the utter disappointment on our faces as she scored us a whopping 2/10. After all of our hard work, surely she had made a mistake? Obviously our project could not be directly compared to the other groups. We had less materials. This was the epitome of injustice. This was so unfair.

And that’s when the penny dropped.


Not only did this experiment reflect the accidental inequality that may take place within a classroom, but society as a whole. Brenda’s attention throughout the session was primarily focused on the groups with more materials. It almost felt as if we had done something wrong, or that she had some sort of personal vendetta against us. She was focusing on the other groups (who did not necessarily need her help), whereas we were somewhat bewildered by how to turn a few paperclips into a useful tool for a prospective student.
Brenda highlighted to us how important it is to treat all pupils equally, which sometimes, does mean giving certain pupils extra attention. She also highlighted that it is important to find a balance; varying techniques for different levels, abilities and circumstances.
There was a definite juxtaposition at the end of the session, as the individuals with a plethora of materials went from feeling positive about their projects, to guilty that they did not share with the more deprived groups.

This experiment exposed the fact that those who are more privileged, may not necessarily notice the situations of those less fortunate. The only groups who mentioned the amount of materials supplied, were the groups with less than the others. The fact that none of the groups with plenty of materials questioned why they had more than the others, highlighted how it can sometimes be difficult to notice inequalities when you yourself, are not personally affected.

As teachers, we will be faced with classes full of children from a range of different backgrounds; with a range of different upbringings. Some children face so many changes in their lives. For some, there is a lack of stability with few constants present. However, a teacher is a constant within a child’s life. Most children, from the age of three to eighteen years old, will always be able to rely on their teachers. Therefore, they have a duty of care to make each child feel valued; a duty to be aware of those who may need a helping hand, in order to ensure that everyone feels integrated.