Intersections: #LoveMySchoolDay

April 11, 2017 by Bill Ivey

Early this morning, one of our English teachers posted that she would be needing someone to cover E period because one of her children was sick. Four minutes later, I saw it and immediately wrote and offered to help. But I was too late, as it turned out - one of my colleagues in the Performing Arts Department had already grabbed the chance.

Filed Under: Girls Schools, community, Feminism, feminist school, Intsersections, #LoveMySchoolDay

Our enduring commitment to humanity

December 28, 2015 by Bill Ivey

(title from The future of feminism is offline by Marcie Bianco)


One of my daily goals is to find at least two interesting things to share out on the school’s Twitter account, generally focusing on pedagogy, social justice in general, and/or feminism in particular. During school vacations, of course, we teachers have a little more time to kick back, and what would often be a simple retweet of and thanks for a given article or blog post, for example, is more likely to turn into a conversation. That’s happened to me several times over the past few days - once on the topic of whether, how, and why to use labels, once on the topic of locking down one’s Twitter account so only approved followers can see what you write, and, intriguingly, once on the topic of whether or not there is still a sense of community in online spaces.

Filed Under: social justice, community, Gloria Steinem, Feminism, social media, Online, Offline

Ending Well, part 2

November 28, 2014 by Bill Ivey

On the last of classes in the middle school, I made the following post to Facebook:

Filed Under: Teaching, All-Girls, On Education, Beautifully different, Girls Schools, community, All Girls Education, In the Classroom, Stoneleigh-Burnham Middle School, girls' school, Uniquely Stoneleigh-Burnham School, Education

Ending well

November 28, 2014 by Bill Ivey

written Wednesday evening, Nov. 19, 2014, the night before the last day of Fall Trimester classes in the middle school.

Filed Under: School Happenings, community, In the Classroom, Stoneleigh-Burnham Middle School, The Faculty Perspective, Education

At the Heart of It

November 24, 2014 by Bill Ivey

Alfie Kohn is most definitely one of my educational heroes. Controversial as he may be, the controversy often stems from his relentless focus on what research tells us about what is best for students even when it flies in the face of common sense. And anyone who is all about figuring out what is best for students, and who has the courage to follow through on those principles (even if they differ from my own), earns my respect.

Filed Under: Middle School, Teaching, On Education, social justice, alfie kohn, classroom management, community, In the Classroom, Stoneleigh-Burnham Middle School, Education

Trans 101.5

November 18, 2014 by Bill Ivey

Transgender Awareness Month comes right on the heels of National Bullying Prevention Month, and in many ways that makes sense, as transgender people are disproportionately affected by bullying (as with street violence). GLSEN reports that fully 82% of LGBT kids have had problems with bullying, 44% specifically due to gender identification (reported on the nobullying.com website). GLSEN’s 2013 National Climate survey is available by download for anyone who might be interested.

In an age where definitions of different genders are becoming as fluid as some people’s sense of gender itself, it can be hard to keep up with the latest terms. For starters, (biological) sex is not the same as (social) gender, and 1-2% of people are born neither female nor male but rather intersex. Additionally, even though “transgender” refers to someone whose gender identity differs from that assigned to them at birth, not everyone who might fit that definition automatically chooses to identify as transgender. Moreover, though some transgender people (such as noted teen activist Jazz Jennings, here in an interview with Katie Couric) feel they were always girls trapped in a boy’s body or boys trapped in a girl’s body, not all transgender people feel that way or even identify within the gender binary. Partially blurring the binary are bigender people and androgynes, and within the Native American tradition, two-spirit people. But other transgender people might identify as polygender, agender, genderqueer, or just plain nonbinary, and still others avoid terminology altogether. Some may have a stable gender identity while others might be more fluid. Facebook, as many people know by now, offers a menu of over 50 gender choices, and even then, it is not 100% comprehensive.

Filed Under: gender, LGBT Support, gender stereotypes, social justice, gender equity, Transgender Awareness Month, community, Acceptance, diversity, Feminism, The Faculty Perspective, Education, transgender

Preventing Bullying

October 31, 2014 by Bill Ivey

“You’re not wearing a blue shirt.” The comment, coming from a Junior in her own blue shirt, was something of a test, and I got partial credit by cringing and saying, “Oh, no! I totally forgot!” At least my response showed I knew that wearing a blue shirt on that particular Monday was meant to draw attention to National Bullying Prevention Month. I did manage to wear purple on GLAAD Spirit Day to take “a stand against bullying and show [my] support for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) youth” (GLAAD), and kept a blue pinky for a week in response to a tweet by @beinggirl; my photo even earned a retweet from the “Secret Mean Stinks” campaign, among others.

For the Humanities 7 unit on “Why do people judge other people and themselves?” one of my students did her individual Focus Question work on bullying. She designed her presentation as much to stimulate conversation as to present information, and she succeeded admirably: the discussion lasted over 45 minutes and might have continued even longer if class hadn’t ended. The students were not without empathy for bullies, coming quickly to general agreement that often, they simply didn’t know better because that was how they were treated, or perhaps they had deep-seated issues of their own and the bullying had nothing to do with the actual victims.

Filed Under: Teaching, LGBT Support, On Education, Parenting, On Parenting, community, Acceptance, bullying, The Faculty Perspective, Anti-Bullying, Education, National Bullying Prevention Month

#WriteMyCommunity (National Day on Writing 2014)

October 20, 2014 by Bill Ivey

Last night, Ben Kuhlman and José Vilson co-facilitated a Twitter chat on the National Day on Writing for the National Council of Teachers of English. You can search for it using the hashtag #NCTEchat and looking back in time to Sunday night, Oct. 19, from 8:00-9:00 p.m. ET. They very kindly shared their questions ahead of time. Here, then, in somewhat more than 140 characters (!) are my own answers to their questions.

Q1 - Do you write outside your job? What? Why? Does your writing contribute to explaining/defining a specific community? #NCTEChat

Filed Under: Teaching, On Education, social justice, community, The Faculty Perspective, Education

"Are you in or out?"

October 15, 2014 by Bill Ivey

(title credit from a song in the Disney movie Aladdin and the King of Thieves)

Filed Under: gender, LGBT Support, Gay-Straight Alliance, community, Acceptance, diversity, Stoneleigh-Burnham School, Current Events, Anti-Bullying

Making Feminism Cool

October 01, 2014 by Bill Ivey

“Bra-burning. Man-hating. Angry and unattractive. Such stereotypes have shadowed the women’s movement over the past few decades — and a slew of young, fashionable celebs are working to clarify feminism’s true definition.” (Fairchild) Setting aside for another day the question of why such a stereotype may have come to life and remained, in the face of mountains of evidence to the contrary, so persistent, Caroline Fairchild raises a good question in her article “Will young celebrities make feminism ‘cool’?” Besides noting Emma Watson’s epic speech at the UN launching the “He for She” campaign, Ms. Fairchild mentions Taylor Swift’s recent realization that she has been a feminist all along and Beyoncé’s performance at the VMAs backed by the word “feminist” in huge block letters.

Feminism, many analysts note, has been waging an uphill battle for years to define itself as being in general far more inclusive than it is typically portrayed. I’ve certainly seen many students over my three decades here echo Ms. Swift’s sentiment when she said, “As a teenager, I didn’t understand that saying you’re a feminist is just saying that you hope women and men will have equal rights and equal opportunities. What it seemed to me, the way it was phrased in culture, society, was that you hate men. And now, I think a lot of girls have had a feminist awakening because they understand what the word means.” (Swift, quoted in Thomas)

Filed Under: gender, All-Girls, LGBT Support, anti-racism, social justice, gender equity, community, diversity, All Girls Education, Feminism, Women in media, racism