“It’s very discussion based, everyone shares their thoughts and opinions, and we usually focus on one or a few things to talk about on a given day,” Jamie Orseck ’19 said after asked what a regular class period looks like. “We learn as a class, educate our peers, and work together to learn what we can do to help change the issues that we know are important.”
Classmates discuss the panel they are putting together, in front of their "Who is a woman you admire" banner.
According to the course catalog “This course is centered around discourse and inquiry which will allow students to research their own interests and expand their studies to women’s history and issues on both a national and global level.”
Although it is a main focal point, discussion is not the only thing the Women in History class accomplishes; the class is active in school and the Westport community. The most recent banner made by the class was for International Women’s Day which asked “Who is a woman you admire?” The class said they knew they would get backlash but were forced to take down the banner the same Wednesday they put it up, due to inappropriate images and names, including specific people around the building. The class said they wanted to keep up the names who had an impact on society, despite their political background or career, but were forced to cover up names put there as a joke. Along with this banner, the class gave away pins with purple ribbons and gave munchkins for those who guessed whether inventions were made by men or women.
Posters hang around the classroom promoting gender equality and other social issues, like this one which reads, "Well-behaved women rarely make history."
For the banner that will be going up soon, the class decided to take a more informative route. In class, ⅔ of the students create the new banner while ⅓ plans a panel, which they hope will help educate the community on issues they feel passionate about. They’ve reached out to organizations like Planned Parenthood to contribute to this event.
Planning, discussing and questioning are key parts of the Women in History class, and as students plan upcoming projects they use all three.
“In other social studies classes, or any classes, there tends to be competition among the students over test grades and homework,” Zoe Hulina ’18 said. “But in Women in History, rather than competing over who knew the most beforehand about a particular topic, we use our discussions to teach each other and elevate our collective knowledge while Ms. Schager is our moderator.
Teacher Cathy Schager, uses a calendar to keep track up the projects the class is putting together in the upcoming month.