Wednesday, March 8, 2017


When at first the prospect of a woman's strike on March 8, International Women's Day, was raised in our 9-teacher team meeting, the only man among us gasped in what we treated as mock alarm. We all laughed because we knew how impossible it would be for him to manage 105 kids all on his own. In the following weeks, I participated in several discussions with colleagues about the call for a day without women.

"But isn't teaching one of the few professions where men and women have equal pay?" asked a fellow teacher. "Even though it is predominately women?" she added.

"Maybe that is why teacher pay is lower compared to other professionals with the same education and licensing credentials," someone else suggested. "Administrators make more," and those jobs are mostly held by men.

"I just wouldn't want to see the kids suffer if there was a strike," another person said.

"But as teachers," I answered, "we are constantly being pressured by that message. Stop complaining and do x or y for the good of the students. Such statements presuppose that we don't care about the welfare of our kids. Maybe it would be good for them to consider the contributions of the women in their lives."

In the end, despite the fact that two nearby school systems closed in response to the call, ours did not, and rather than stay at home, I put on some red, went to school, and refused to spend a penny, as did the majority of my colleagues. Our students demonstrated a mix of levels of awareness, although we had a rare 100% attendance on our team. Some were clueless, some had heard of it, and some wore red in solidarity.

Then there was the kid who interrupted me as I was explaining the day's objective. "Hey!" she said indignantly, "I thought you weren't allowed to teach us today!"

1 comment:

  1. Districts actually closed for this? I can't imagine, of course we would have to make the day up. Love the students quote at the end.