Yesterday was professional development around gender in three strands: gender norming, conforming, and bullying; leadership opportunities across the gender spectrum, and single sex environments and situations within the school.
People at my school are so flipping thoughtful and smart. In the morning, three board members talked about their histories, looking at their lives through a gender lens. Later, in panel presentations, students talked about their gendered experiences at our school. Finally, teachers told stories about their social constructions of gender and how these impacted their teaching, coaching, and personal development. I was floored by the openness, thoughtfulness, and critical thinking.
Later, we who work in the Middle School looked at data and discussed how our particular practices and environment might be positioning students in different ways. During that discussion, I got a wee bit testy when a male teacher suggested that women teachers are less effective at working with boys. "That makes me feel defensive," I said, naming my feeling. "I mean, where's the data to support that, Pete?" He didn't have any, and we moved on. I experienced stereotype threat in that conversation because I was very concerned about confirming the stereotype that women tend become irrationally angry.
Overall, the whole thing was a fantastic learning experience. How often can we say that about day-long staff development?!