Feminism in the Classroom–Folly or Fantasy?

Schools in America are open to a tremendous amount of criticism.  Much of it is even deserved.  However, the increasingly tight control of curriculum based on political correctness is an area that is worthy of conversation.

It’s kind of an open secret in education that we sanitize the hell out of things that don’t portray us in the best light.  The Civil War was fought because those fine, noble northerners found the idea of slavery morally reprehensible (forget the economy).  Lewis Carroll had a fabulous imagination that really resonated with children (redact the pedophilia).  Our involvement in Vietnam was a success (I’m not really sure how we’re able to keep that whopper floating–probably by arguing that we’re not all a bunch of communists–but somehow the myth perpetuates).

Therefore, the idea of facing head-on a subject that will without question raise controversy and–oh, my stars!–make kids think is invigorating.

That Feminism falls under that umbrella, though … I’m not sure how I feel about that.

I recently attended a fantastic training on inquiry-based instruction and assessment in an English Language Arts classroom (a fancy way to say “good English teaching”).  The presenter, who teaches at an inner-city school in New York City, shared lots of great strategies, techniques, and resources.

What stood out the most to me, though, was a unit she shared focused around feminism. It was absolutely mind-blowing … everything from evaluating the degree of impact made by Charlotte Bronte and Jane Austen to analyzing the philosophies of Mary Wollstonecraft to ..

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No Hugs

I have serious boundary issues and Mysophobia (fear of germs) so I really don’t like to be touched. Even my family members know better than to hug me, or sit too close. I have a physical reaction to it. That’s not to say I don’t hug people, sometimes I do. I’ve been known to have a cuddle as well.

A while ago a friend sent me an article that said a ten second hug is actually a better mood stabilizer than any prescription. My response was, “I don’t buy it” mainly, because most of the time hugging puts me in a bad mood.  Then I thought about it, I hug my dogs a lot. Hugging them always puts me in a better mood…so there may be something to that theory.

When I stumbled upon an article that said Amber, a twelve-year-old girl, was given detention for hugging I was a little baffled. What kind of hug were we discussing? How does a hug get you suspended? Girls in my school used to hug each other all the time. Even if you just saw your friend ten minutes ago, their reappearance warranted a hug.

I read on, apparently this school in Australia has banned hugging. Amber violated that ban when she hugged a student goodbye and therefore was punished. A school banned hugging. No hugs. Ever.

The ban was put in place according to Gemma Preston, the principal of Abby Road Primary School, when students were giving “overenthusiastic” hugs resulting in bruises and other injuries. “This behavior was getting out of control with students hugging each other several times a day and this was becoming disruptive to classes,” said Preston. Sounds to me like someone didn’t get enough hugs and didn’t like it.

I get it, I used to see boys doing that to each other when I was in school. You squeeze and squeeze until the other person can’t breathe. That’s what kids do. I do not believe that so many hugs were given that it stopped learning. Furthermore, if hugging is the worst problem your school has—you’re in good shape.

What if the article my friend sent me is right? What if all those hugs actually stabilized and helped the moods of pre-teens? It would probably make learning a little easier and have a nice positive association to school. Why would you want to take that away?

Even as someone who is very against hugging, and touching I am very much against this hugging ban. I like all the kids at Abby Road Primary School should march into Principle Preston’s office and give her a big ole hug!

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Facebook Update Has Middle Schooler in Hot Water

Screenshot of Mother and Daughter in bin Laden Facebook Brouhaha

The concept of parents complaining about their children being disciplined at school has been of increasing concern over the past decade or so.  Whether it’s moms freaking out about a kid’s mouth being taped shut, taking issue with a double entendre-loaded exam,  or even the slippery slope of how to handle a kid who’s outed his school secretary as a porn star, educational institutions are having to contend with some interesting stuff.

This might just be the topper.

Yup, it seems that a 13-year-old kid received a five-day suspension after recently posting on Facebook that she “wished Osama bin Laden killed her math teacher”, and her …

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Mom’s Mad That Teacher Taped Teen Daughter’s Mouth Shut

Photo of Girl With Mouth Duct-Taped Shut

I always rolled my eyes when my mother started the, “Back when I was a kid …” spiel.  You know what I mean, right?  “I had to walk two miles to school in snowstorms.  Uphill.”  “I had to eat everything that was put in front of me.”  “If I got anything less than an A on my report, my father would have killed me.”

The subject of school brought on a whole new list of woes from my mother.  Evidently if you were really bad, you got hit with a ruler by the teacher or, for especially bad offenses, the wooden paddle in the principal’s office.  My mother avoided these tidbits of corporal punishment doled out in loco parentis because she was a “good child”.

I was not.

By the time I was in school, the ruler and the paddle had given way …

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