“Boys and Girls Are Capable”

We recently connected with Teacher Immaculee to hear her reflections on our Gender-Responsive Classrooms training and how she’s implemented it into her own classroom to teach both boys and girls that they are capable. This is what she shared with us:

“Personally, this Gender-Responsive Classrooms training helped me to realize that boys and girls are capable. Although I am a mother of only boys, who help me with the household chores, I didn’t feel I could teach sharing responsibilities to my students. Because of the training, I tell both boys and girls that they are able, they can do the same things. Now, in my classroom, boys and girls sweep and do the same activities.

I remember two siblings I have in class (a boy and a girl). When we asked them to bring plates for school feeding, the boy used to give his to her sister to carry for him. When I realized it, I explained to them that boys could also carry plates; it is not for girls only. Since then, the brother started to carry his own plate. 

Teaching and Reaching Every Child Inside the Classroom

In my classroom, I make sure that I reach every student; I do not act as a leader, but rather as a facilitator. Boys and girls sit together, while before, they didn’t sit or work together. Now, I give to students the opportunity to work together and support each other in small groups. I also give them the opportunity to discuss and discover the lesson they are going to learn. I call on boys and girls to answer questions, and I do it consistently.

Both Boys and Girls are Capable

When I see gender bias in teaching resources like pictures or text, I try to subvert it or create another one which will help me to integrate gender education as a cross-cutting issue in my lesson, which I do in every lesson. It has become part of me. My students are open to one another because they know that each of them is capable. 

In my classroom, girls are not afraid of boys. They are confident to represent their groups during feedback, which they did not do before. Boys and girls treat each other as brothers and sisters.

Inspiring Change Outside the Classroom

In the community outside the classroom, I also do my best to subvert gender biases and stereotypes. One day, when I was going home from school, I met a girl with her brother, and the girl was complaining that her brother had refused to help her carry a small jerry can for her, while she was also carrying other loads. She even told me that she is the one who washes her brother’s clothes and shoes, yet the brother does nothing for her. This was an opportunity for me to teach them that boys and girls can do the same activities; what a girl can do, a boy also can do it.

Along with my colleagues, I also share these learnings with our fellow teachers who didn’t attend the Gender-Responsive Classroom trainings.

I thank God for being one of the teachers who was selected to be part of the Gender-Responsive Classrooms pilot. I also thank Wellspring and the trainers who trained us.”

Gender Equality for Years to Come

Teacher Immaculee is leading the charge of gender equity, reframing gender roles, and is a role model for both boys and girls in her school! We can’t wait to see the impact these students will have as they carry the torch further in their communities and families in the years to come!