Top 10 High School Feminist Teaching Moments of 2014

This has been quite a year for me as a feminist teacher and activist. Here are some highlights of an exciting year of #HSfeminism in action.

1. This past fall, journalist Kelley Lord visited my classroom to document the impact that teaching feminism at the high school level was making on my students. She wanted to see firsthand why my students–both boys and girls–strongly identified as feminists. Included in her video below are highlights from our annual International Day of the Girl assembly, which featured boys acting out a scene on bystander intervention and girls speaking out on street harassment. All of them discuss why taking feminism in high school matters. Watch the magic of #HSfeminism.


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Top 10 Feminist Teacher Highlights of 2013

A great deal of inspiring work happened in 2013 both in my high school feminism class and in my outside professional work to build a movement with other teachers, activists, and academics to bring women’s, gender, and queer studies to schools. Here’s my top ten favorite moments of 2013.

1. Launched a movement to bring women’s and gender studies to K-12 schools with other high school feminist teachers from across the country at the AAUW’s (American Association of University Women) first ever symposium, Creating Classrooms of Justice: Teaching Gender Studies in Schools. Hosted in partnership with the AAUW, I delivered the keynote and helped to organize the panels featured throughout the day. More than 50 educators and activists from across the country – from California to Massachusetts – met at the University of Missouri, St. Louis, for a day-long event. Special thanks to fellow activist, Holly Kearl, for helping make this event happen as successfully as it did. Everyone walked away inspired. To join the movement, email: gender-studies@listsrv.aauw.org

I delivered the keynote at the AAUW's first ever symposium on teaching women's and gender studies in K-12 schools. The symposium was held in St. Louis (photo credit: Holly Kearl).

I delivered the keynote at the AAUW’s first ever symposium on teaching women’s and gender studies in K-12 schools. The symposium was held in St. Louis (photo credit: Holly Kearl).

2. Brought my students to the United Nations in New York for a Girls Speak Out event to observe the second annual International Day of the Girl held every October 11. As part of observing IDG, my students held our second annual assembly and blogged about their experience. As a class, we continued to partner with the all-girls school, Shri Shikshayatan, in Kolkata, India and learned about global girls education, sex trafficking, sex selection, and sexual harassment in both countries.

Students from my high school feminism class attended a Girls Speak Out event at the United Nations for International Day of the Girl (photo credit: Ileana Jiménez).

Students from my high school feminism class attended a Girls Speak Out event at the United Nations for International Day of the Girl (photo credit: Ileana Jiménez).

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My High School Feminism Class Marks International Day of the Girl 2012

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The students in my high school feminism class marked this year’s first International Day of the Girl by leading a phenomenal school-wide assembly for their peers. We partnered with 10×10 Educate Girls to learn about the state of girls’ education globally as well as with our partner school in India, the all-girls Shri Shikshayatan School in Kolkata.

In addition to sharing information about girls education globally, my students showed videos from a range of organizations including those from 10×10 and the Girl Effect. The young women and men in the class highlighted statistics on girls education and several girls shared personal stories about growing up at the intersection of race, class, gender, and sexuality in the U.S.

Across the globe, high school girls at Shri Shikshayatan sponsored a day of panels related to infanticide or sex selective abortion, trafficking, and the education of girls in India.

My students documented reflections on leading their International Day of the Girl assembly on their blog F to the Third Power, citing learning about intersectionality–or the theory that categories of oppression such as racism, classism, and sexism are interlocking–as the most important concept that helped provide them a lens for understanding both social justice feminism as well as themselves.

We’re looking forward to continuing our partnership with the girls and teachers at Shri Shikshayatan, and are hoping to visit their school in the future. Until then, our classes will continue the dialogue about gender and equity in both countries, as we foster a critical and action-based understanding about the need for global education for girls and their communities to create social and economic justice.