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Here come the Girls: Ensuring Inclusivity

Lynne is a Secondary Teacher with QTS who is currently working in schools through Protocol Education in Bristol

I have not spent the summer months idling about in the garden, on the beach or in departure terminals; I have been busy every morning inculcating the finer points of the English language to classes of Spanish, French and German teenagers. Easy money, you may say; I say take the first person singular present simple of the verb to read and compare it with the first person singular of the past simple. Spot the difference.

Anyway, despite the vagaries of my native tongue, this teaching has been a pleasurable experience, as was the last time I taught English as a foreign language, or was until I met the Director of Studies (DoS) of the company for which I was working. I had been employed as senior teacher for several weeks and the feedback for myself and my two colleagues from the French students in our care had been very good. Then the DoS decided to pay us a visit from head office more than a hundred miles away.

He observed a section of each of our lessons starting with me and my class's warm-up exercise. There was no interactive whiteboard in the room so the students had to come up to the computer to type in their responses. As far as I was concerned all went well and the DoS trotted off to see my colleague.

Later he returned for the debriefing prefacing it with how impressed he was to see "a more mature " teacher using IT. I had retired from full-time MFL teaching less than a year previously. How did he think one functioned in today's classroom if one didn't use IT? Patronising. He then heavily criticised my lesson because I had "curbed the enthusiasm" of the boys who wanted to rush up to the keyboard at every opportunity. Instead I insisted on calling the students up one at a time otherwise all the questions would have been answered by the boys. Not only would the girls have resented the boys but they would have been fed up with me for letting it happen.

Girls are conditioned from early on in life to the dominating behaviour of males and to feeling they are invisible. So a good teacher will ensure inclusivity is a priority. (It doesn't just happen in lessons in schools. When I think of all the meetings I have attended where the chairperson let one or two self-important men take over the proceedings whilst I sat outwardly resigned but inwardly seething.)

I tried to explain this to the self-important DoS but he was all for the boys shouting out. When I suggested that we would have to agree to differ he took great umbrage at that telling me he was THE DIRECTOR OF STUDIES  and would not be contradicted by one of his employees. Needless to say I have never worked for that company again.

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Tags: Lyn, supply teacher, secondary, gender, girls, ICT, MFL, summer, inclusivity, protoblog, protocol education

Category: Australian Teachers

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