I didn’t set out to be loud or to have people pay attention to my words. I didn’t set out to find an audience to a blog, or to spark conversation. I set out to reflect, to push myself, and to keep myself honest. But in the process I also figured that while I may have an opinion, because I am female, I tend to veil it in niceties.
My post, “Where Are All the Female Connected Educators?” has sparked an incredible discussion and I think it has highlighted some truths that we cannot dismiss any more. We women, can be our very own worst enemies. We are quick to dismiss our own talents. We are quick to dismiss praise. We are good at being quiet. We are good at apologizing for our beliefs before we state them. We are magnificent at disclaimers and watered down versions of what we really want to say.
Whether we do it to keep the peace or to avoid the labels that come with being outspoken, that come with having an opinion, having convictions, I am not sure. Some of us are softer, sure, but some of us are tough as nails and yet many of us still act as if our opinion is an afterthought, and not a force to be reckoned with.
I don’t know why we tear ourselves down. I don’t know why we tear each other down. I don’t know why we shy away from praise or compliments. Often women can be more brutal toward other women than men could ever be to us. But I do think it is time to stop the tear downs, to stop being our own worst enemies and that of other females. Education as a whole has enough opponents or people looking for us to screw up. So I urge you tonight to join together – enough of this us versus them debate. Enough with tearing other teachers down. We must be our own biggest fans before we expect others to take us seriously. Reach out to another educator, female or not. Praise others for their ideas, for their courage, for their ideas. Praising someone else does not take anything away from your ow power as an educator. Keep your head held high even if others disagree. Let criticism roll off your back. Believe in yourself and know that it is ok. It is ok to be proud of yourself. It is ok to have an opinion. It is ok to think that you can change the world, even if you are a female.