Gender Week: Voices of Lick Faculty

The Hyphen asked various teachers to share their thoughts and words answering multiple questions about gender. Hear what parts of Lick FACULTY have to say for the theme of the week.

Eric Temple- Head of School

I have three hopes for our students as they head off to college and life beyond high school. The first is that I want our graduates to feel comfortable in their own skin. What I mean by this is that I don’t want anyone to feel as though she has to change the way she looks or what she says or does in order to fit in to a group of peers. However, having said that, I also want all of our students to understand the core tenet that all people deserve respect. Being true to yourself and respecting everyone can feel like opposing goals at times. For example, in order to stand up for something you believe in, you may need to disagree vehemently with someone. This is where respect ultimately is most important, for we can disagree and still see the humanity in our adversaries. Lastly, I want our graduates to be practitioners of rescue, meaning when then see someone being treated badly, they step in to help, when they see someone in need, they have compassion for the person, and when they see an injustice, even if it is a mean joke, they do not stand by, but stand up and call out the injustice. Though I understand that this response does not necessarily address gender specifically, I believe that these characteristics are core understandings that apply to the ways we treat everyone.

Anna Lea– Math Department

I don’t really have any one personal story to share about how I have been treated differently because I was a girl. A good friend of mine once said to me, “Anna, the difference between boys and girls is that boys are stupid and girls are crazy.” I guess this just made me think: “Whether you are a boy or a girl, we all have our own issues to deal with. No one’s perfect, get used to it.”  What’s most important for Lick students to remember in terms of prejudice, gender, and stereotypes? Don’t stop yourself from being you, and don’t shut people out of your life because they have different values than your own. You don’t have to be judgmental in order to make good judgements in life; no one’s perfect, so find a way to be nice and get along with as many people as you can.

Erin Merk– Body-Mind Education

[How Lick handles instances of disrespect in gender] depends on the level of disrespect and whether it was witnessed and or reported.  We have frequent conversations about the topic in various contexts among the adults in our community.  Depending on how widespread the disrespect appears to be, there might be a community-wide conversation, or else smaller interventions with the students accused of disrespect. Unpacking our collective baggage about who we think we are and who other people think we are will take a lifetime of creative and committed effort!  Ask yourself lots of questions as you move through the world.  Check your assumptions and habits around identity.  What kind of person do you want to be?  What messages have you learned, directly or indirectly, about what it means to be a ————— (fill in the blank with any of your perceived identities).  Are you participating in upholding any stereotypes, either consciously or unconsciously, through how you present yourself, how you behave, how you speak, to whom you speak, what you say, or any other way that you participate in your daily life?  If so, is this what you want to be offering the world with through your body and mind?  If not, are you willing to try something different, and challenge your own beliefs and habits?

Anton Krukowski- Science Department

The essential question for last week’s senior ethics workshop was, “How do I find purpose and act with compassion and responsibility as a young man or a young woman?” Even though gender is a social construct, it is very real and affects us every day, in ways that are hard to predict.  Gender roles are changing and fluid, and there are no longer clear models from previous generations.  We asked students to think about how society’s messages about gender can make it hard to act naturally in complex social situations, and to strive to honor all sides of our personalities, traditionally masculine and feminine.

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