How and Why You Should Teach Gender To Your Kids/Class

Gender picWhile teaching English this summer, I was fortunate enough to work for a company that had a spectacular text book. It encouraged open discussions in English, and didn’t just talk about the boring topics like shopping, movies, etc. My level 4 book had a section on gender issues. This is a subject I studied quite a bit at university, and follow in the news, but not one I have ever taught. So, I challenged myself to teach gender to students with English as a second language.

Hands down, this was one of the hardest subjects I have ever had to teach. Not because of a lack of knowledge, but because it involves such sensitive issues that society has coached us to not discuss publicly. Well, I did and it was the best class I have ever led.

I began by having the students create a list of issues related to gender, not only for women but men as well. Here are some things we came up with for men; custody rights, mental health stigma, body pressure, lack of support for sexual abuse, paternity leave, inability to cry. For women; pay gap, hormones being used as an excuse for feelings, maternity leave, pressure to find partners, tampon tax. This list is only a small sample of the massive ideas my students developed.

I then did something very controversial, I told my students I was going to make some statements that might be upsetting but I encouraged them to disagree with me. I said: Gay is against nature and wrong. Women are the lesser sex. Transgender/transsexual’s are just a mental disorder. The reactions I got were astounding. All of my students (even the quiet ones) got up in arms. They debated me, fought me. They spoke more in this class than in any other. They were understandably angry at my narrow minded statements, but it was only after we finished our discussion that I admitted that I didn’t agree with a word I said. I showed them how by phrasing things in that method got them to talk more than any other way could have.

Unfortunately, while teaching this subject, my boss overheard me. My company is very clear that they do not require me to give in lesson plans, and they do not censor what I teach. But, my boss did not like what I was saying or how I was saying it. He couldn’t tell me to stop, he had no authority to because our manager had already given me the Ok. So, instead, he pulled me aside and claimed I was “talking too much for an English class” and he refused to hear my explanation. Just because he didn’t like what I said, he literally told me to stop talking in class.

That is what our society does. If people don’t like what one person says, they make them be silent. Especially in regards to issues related to gender like LGBTQ+ rights or equality among the sexes. It makes people so uncomfortable! I felt uncomfortable discussing it, but I am glad I did. Because, I had multiple students write me thank you cards saying that my gender class was their favourite class of the summer. Many even said an adult had never talked to them about these issues, and they were grateful I did. It was wonderful for me to hear that, but also sad to know that 16 year old kids had never had someone discuss gender issues with them. These are vital to encourage a tolerant, accepting world. We need EDUCATION around this, and all issues, to ensure there is a better tomorrow.



Buy This If You Are Renting or In a Dorm

Screenshot (21)I don’t frequently do reviews, unless something truly warrants my attention. But, hands down the best investment I have ever made is a foam mattress topper. I have moved every year since I was eighteen. I’ve lived in three different states, and two different countries.

The one thing that has stayed constant in all that is, I move into furnished houses/apartments. I don’t move furniture, just clothes. And all of the beds in the places I have moved to have been less than heavenly. Usually, they are old, threadbare, and covered in stains. For a lot of these years, I’ve been a poor university student, or struggling graduate. I could not afford to buy a new mattress every time I changed homes. So, for five years, I just accepted having a bad back from constantly sleeping on terrible mattresses.

Then, one day I got smacked with the worst food poisoning of my life (and I’ve lived in East Asia so that says a lot) and I was trapped in a bed where I could feel every single metal spring. It was agony. In a haze of vomit, I rush ordered a foam mattress topper off Amazon Prime. It cost me £50 and was the only cheap, highly rated option that had next day delivery.

From the minute I put it on my ancient bed, everything turned magical. It was like laying on a cloud. I’ve moved three times since I bought the mattress topper. And the only thing I have always brought with me is this foam pad of heaven. The foam mattress topper is nearly two years old, and it hadn’t worn down. The eggshell like top is still visible, and there are no dents from my partners larger frame.

No matter where I live, from now on, I will always buy or bring with me a foam mattress topper. They can compress into a box, and it ensures I always get a good nights rest. For any university student, or anyone renting a house that comes fully furnished, this is an investment you will NEVER regret. Plus, you can find them for fairly cheap, and it will save you loads in coffee and chiropractor costs because you won’t have a bad back or lack sleep due to your bed arrangement.

Why You Should Give China a Break

China pictureReading this article about the 2 child policy in China, I can’t help but feel annoyed.

First, Western countries/media constantly berated China for having a One Child Policy. They thought it violated people’s rights and choices. In some ways, it did. But, this policy was a drastic measure to a drastic problem. China’s population was growing too fast to for the industrialising country to support it. So, criticise all you want, China had to do something or it never would have become a world power.

But, in the mid 2000’s, the Chinese government relaxed the policy so people from ethnic minorities or those willing to pay a fine could have more than one child. And then, if a married couple both came from a one child household, they could have two. But, the media didn’t care about this. Then in 2015, the one child policy was officially dropped. Cue applause.

Now, two years later, and the Western media have somehow found a way to find fault with China’s birth rate AGAIN. The Economist claims that the multi child policy is creating discrimination against women within China, because employers are concerned about women taking more maternity leave.

Excuse me, but this ins’t just an issue in China! This is an issue we females face around the world. In America, employer’s do not want to hire a pregnant woman. They seem them with dollar signs above their heads. The media shouldn’t condemn China for an issue that exists in every modern country. Furthermore, the media shouldn’t give China a hard time for changing a policy they were condemned for by the same media!

No country is perfect, but China is berated in the media more than most. And, I am kind of sick of it.

Starbucks Is Becoming a New Luxe Brand and You Should Be Glad!

StarbucksI recently read a piece that said Starbucks has shown a 3% drop in growth in the last two years within the US. It has left the business baffled. It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise given the incidents that have occurred with regards to racism towards employee’s. But, the stranger thing is that I have seen a surge in Starbucks stores abroad.

As a teacher, ALL my kids buy is Starbucks. These are kids from all over Europe and Asia, many of which have Starbucks in their home countries. But, it is more rare, therefore they are going to Starbucks on the high street in Oxford EVERY SINGLE DAY. I am unsure how they afford it, but afford it they do.

Starbucks has only increased in popularity with their progression towards the straw ban and being more environmentally friendly. Now, I have to ask for a straw. I also know that they are testing out new cups that are strawless. In addition, I have seen that Starbucks will now charge an additional .05 pence for non-reusable cups. It used to be we got a discount for using our own mugs, now we have to or pay a fine.

I can tell you that other coffee brands in the UK and Europe are not taking drastic measures such as this to cut down on their environmental impact. So, why is Starbucks less popular in the US? I don’t have the answer. The corporate office shouldn’t be concerned however, because Starbucks is only growing in popularity around the world.

Perhaps like Chanel, Dior and other luxury brands, Starbucks will only hold mass appeal to people from other countries. The allure of Chanel is that it is French. French people like it, but they have other brands that are also French that cost way less. The same could be true for Starbucks. Perhaps Starbucks should focus abroad and sell the “Americanness” of the brand and accept that the US is no longer it’s target audience.

M.I.A in Life

background beautiful blossom calm waters
Photo by Pixabay on

I realize I have been missing in action on this blog. Sadly, I have not only been missing from my writing, but from my life. Somewhere in England, I lost myself. Now, I’ve been going through a period of self-discovery. It started with a last minute job I got teaching English as a Foreign Language in Oxford. Who knew a summer job could change so much?

Moving away from friends and family is never easy…except this time it was! I think that by sometimes getting out of our comfort zone and being thrust into a challenging situations entirely on our own, we are forced to develop as a person. I certainly have.

I don’t think I have changed much, what I think has happened is that I have remembered who I am. I am a person who loves to live out of a suitcase. It keeps me on my toes, it gives me freedom of movement, and most importantly an excuse to shop for things I forget! Living out of my suitcase in Oxford has taught me that I am much less materialistic than I thought. I used to think I needed to shop, spend money. It used to be the only thing that would make me feel good in my miserable life. But now, shopping is an occasional past time, but not something I need to improve my mood.

I have remembered that I am a social person! I’ve gotten used to seeing the same people, doing the same things, and I grew bored. I stopped wanting to go out because it was never something new. I thought I had grown into an introvert during my 20’s. Not so. I was just bored of my surroundings. In a new place with zero friends, I have blossomed. I talk to strangers, invite acquaintances out, go drinking, try new foods. My life feels full again, and I’m back to my usual extroverted self.

I learned to let down my guard. 3 months ago, I hated working out in a gym, and would never willingly exercise with another person. I would never take a fitness class. I was too embarrassed by my perceived lack of athletic ability. Now, I both don’t give a shit and also know I am a lot more capable than I thought. I’ve also lost a good number of inches off my entire body. I have a gym buddy that I work out with almost everyday, and I don’t care if they see me struggle. I tried an abs class for the first time, and it nearly killed me. I don’t compare myself to others at the gym anymore. And I willingly join in sports games and physical activities. Because I would rather be the worst player on the field than the best watcher on the sidelines.

Most importantly, I have learned that I am independent. I used to need to talk to my mom or friends everyday or I would feel lonely. But, living in Oxford, I have discovered I am completely ok with being alone. I don’t need other people to fill my time because my own company is more than enough. At night, I’m perfectly content sitting in my room. I’m fine with eating a meal by myself.

I know this isn’t my usual, informative post. But, I do have some life advice to offer you. If you are ever feeling stuck in your professional or personal life, get out! I don’t mean quit your job or marriage. I mean, change your surroundings. Go volunteer for 3 months in South America. Take a college course over the summer in a different state. Go to France to learn French. Force yourself to leave your physical comfort zone, and soon you will find that everything else will change as well. I think that what controls us isn’t who or what we do, but where we are. A change in destination is all that is needed to change your life.

How To Get The Chic French Fashion Look

20170509_203029As an ESL teacher, I work with all nationalities. I’ve recently begun to teach French students, both male and female. Everything the fashion magazines say about them is true, they are so stylish! Did I mention my students are 14?

They don’t wear a lot of accesories, or even wear a lot of labels. Honestly, they wear jeans and sweatshirts, or jeans and plain t-shirts. But somehow, they add little chic touches that turn an outfit that would look boring on me, into something that looks fashionable. For example, today one student was wearing mom jeans, and a very baggy t-shirt. Her hair was a mess, and her only accessory was a nose piercing. Yet somehow, it looked so cool!

Teaching these kids early in the morning, I can promise they put zero thought into their clothing. They do not think about their outfits, I don’t think the French style the conscious choice we non-French people assume. Rather, I think it is both bred, and SOLD into them. By this I mean, their parents dress in very simple, casual styles. So, they do too. And the stores in France sell more monochrome, structured, casual items. So, they buy them. I know this is true because I’ve shopped in French stores.

The whole nature vs nurture debate has established that who we are as people is molded by our parents and our environment. Applying that psychology to fashion, it means that the French teens wear the clothes sold in their shops and worn by their parents. Therefore, I purpose that French fashion is not a purposeful style. Rather, it is simply a look that is sold, and told to them.

This isn’t exclusive to France. In Washington, people wear a lot of North Face and polar fleece hoodies. Why? Because it is what the stores sell, and what parents tell you to wear to keep warm. In New York, stores sell edgy clothes, and parents tell their kids to dress in the latest NYC style. Breeding and location is what makes an intrinsic local style.

The French teens are chic casual because it is all they can know. So, I envy them a little less…but I also wish my stores sold me less bold prints and more perfect white tee’s.

What are your thoughts???

Why Hallmark Holidays are a Good Thing For Your Life

close up photograph of two person holding sparklers
Photo by on

As you all know, today is Father’s Day! A day to honor the men in our lives who have helped raise and shape us. Everyone is happy to celebrate Father’s Day and Mother’s Day every year.

But then, you get those people who don’t want to celebrate the other “made up holidays” (I would argue every holiday was made up at some point). The grinches who say they don’t want to celebrate April Fool’s Day or St. Patrick’s Day. The one that really annoys me is when boyfriends, girlfriends, husbands, significant other’s, try and get out of Valentines Day.

Mother’s Day was created to honor the women who give birth to us and/or raise us. Father’s Day was created to honor the men who do the same, and only started 100 years ago. Valentine’s Day was made in modern times to celebrate the people we love in our lives. Yes, that can mean romantic love. But, when I was a kid my mother always got me Valentine’s Day chocolates. My siblings send me cards every year. Valentines Day is the same as Mother’s and Father’s Day. It is one day a year that we take out of the 365 to celebrate people we love.

I love any and ALL holiday’s. I wear green for St. Patty’s Day. Red, white and blue on the 4th of July, jokes on April 1st, turkey on Thanksgiving, gifts on Mother’s & Father’s Day, and cards on Valentines day.

So, anyone who likes to claim Valentines Day is a “Hallmark Holiday” or a “Fake Holiday”, well they can tell their mom and dad on their respective holidays that their day is Fake too. Otherwise, hush your mouth, and enjoy a day of love!