Earlier this week, I got to spend some time in Anne’s 5th and 6th grade social studies class as students prepared to engage in a role play of the Seneca Falls Convention of 1848, the first-ever women’s rights convention held in the United States. I was able to watch and interact with our students as they took on the identities of different marginalized women’s groups—Cherokee women, Enslaved African-American women, New Mexican women, etc. Students were asked to consider the needs of these groups individually and then prioritize them with the goal of unifying all the groups to present at the convention later that week.
I was moved by the way this lesson humanized the people often written out of the historical record. Not only were students given the opportunity to learn about these groups, they were then empowered to use that knowledge to champion for the social, cultural, ethnic, and religious rights of women. What an incredible way to live our commitment to social justice in practice.
It goes without saying that our current cultural and social climate as it relates to women is fraught with challenges. If the #metoo movement is any indication of where we are in terms of gender equity and equality, the world is in need of change and far from where we might want it to be. Each time I walk into a class, I am reminded that our classrooms are the incubators for that change. We are doing the work of both educating our students and helping them engage critically in the world around them.
I can’t believe we are only a week and a day away from winter break! It’s been such a busy year and I hope you enjoy this well-deserved time off. I wish you all a restful weekend with your loved ones.