Someone who influences you in a positive way. Someone who you look up to. These explanations were the beginning of an interesting conversation with my students.
In honor of Women’s History Month, baker-trainees were tasked to write about women who inspire them. What surprised me was that students mostly thought of men. It made me think about how we present female role models to young girls and women of all ages across the world. Why was it so difficult for them to immediately name a female inspiration?
Recently there’s a commercial airing on T.V. for GE that focuses around the question, what if female scientists were treated like celebrities? If you haven’t seen it, click here. When I saw the commercial for the first time, I thought it was great. Now, considering how difficult it was for some of my students to think of a woman who inspires them, it made me appreciate, I guess would be the right word, commercials and media like this geared towards inspiring younger generations of girls around the world to dream big and pursue their dreams.
In addition to writing about women who inspire, we screened the movie Girl Rising on International Women’s Day. I hadn’t seen it in a long time, but in seeing the looks on my students faces, we all realized that there is still a long road ahead of us. One trainee said “I didn’t realize things were still so difficult,” while another echoed that “someone has it worse than me.” We didn’t get to finish watching the movie, but at the end of our time together, with tears streaming down our faces, we hugged together and resolved to do more and be more for future generations.
After much thought and discussion, my students wrote about women ranging from mothers to grandmothers to people like Hillary Clinton, Dominique Crenn, and Mother Theresa.
I have a few inspirations. One of them are my students (my most recent graduates are pictured below). I learn so much from them and hope that they learn from me too. The work I do is for them. As their teacher, their disappointments and triumphs become my own. I am invested to work with them to build their confidence so that they can be successful in their life and careers.
I suppose it is my way of paying it forward for everyone who took a chance on me and supported me to get me to where I am today. It is also the teacher in me. Teachers give so much of themselves to their students. I love when I get to witness a student becoming a mentor to a newer baker-trainee. I see how much their confidence has bloomed in those moments and that brings me joy and inspiration.
Who inspires you?