The feminine passion

I have been working on my teaching philosophy for a while. As a faculty member I think of my teaching philosophy as a document that reflects my personal values and vision of teaching. The document however, changes a little bit over the years, I think mostly because we are always finding ourselves as educators and by forming our teaching identity we always discover something new and valuable that we may want to include in our teaching statement.

Reading a blog post about the 8 pitfalls or writing a teaching statements gave me very good advice on things to consider to improve it. However, I am having serious issues with the tone of the author regarding the way someone should write. She mentioned that people must avoid to sound too feminine. Especially one of the pitfalls actually is “You are excessively emotional, especially if you are female.” 

How can being too emotional be bad especially if you are female? Why the distinction? is being a female something bad?

I have two issues with this. The first one is the use of the term female as something negative that can make you less marketable in the job market. The second one is to don’t show emotions.

In my case not showing emotions in something that reflects my philosophy about the thing that I love the most in the world (teaching) is completely impossible. I need to bring passion to everything I do and for me having to make my teaching statement sound like something cool that will attract employers make me don’t want to work for those employers.

Is the teaching statement something that we do to improve our teaching? is something that we do to reflect on the things that matter to us as educators? OR is the teaching statement some written portion of an application process where we should say the things that administrators and university leaders want to hear?

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4 Responses to The feminine passion

  1. benchambers says:

    Ya that one made me pretty angry too. There still seems to be a bit of cultural association between emotion and weakness. I happen to think that being in touch with your emotions makes you more stable and effective.
    But, I think that the article may actually have meant, ‘don’t be sappy’. Saccharine statements tend to disgust jaded people, and I imagine these search committees have reached the point of being pretty jaded.

  2. albarc says:

    I agree with you. I also feel the author promoted a stereotype, and that makes me sad. However, I am not surprised. Unfortunately, the engineering field is plagued with “micro aggressive” behaviors that tend to alienate female engineers, and make us feel as a different kind of professional, for the simple fact of being women. The author of the blog post could’ve made his point without making any reference to women’s emotions or the like.

  3. gtpurdy says:

    Could not agree with you more about disconnecting emotion with teaching and the way in which the author portrayed the expectations of females in the reading. It was offensive that the author tried to make it seem like emotion was a female quality and something which females in particular should not portray. As an emotionally attune male, I think that linking emotion as a traditionally female attribute continues to breed antiquated gender stereotypes.

    With that said, I do think that too much emotion in a teaching philosophy could take away from the professionalism of the work. Showing your passion is a good thing, but going over the top without any evidence could also detract from the documents effectiveness.

    Great post and thank you for bringing this up!

  4. Jude C Chris says:

    In India teaching is nest to godliness. Stereo type is not only present in the engineering, it also present in all the areas including the writing blogs and posts and to add to this there are technologies developing to add fuel to the stereo typist.

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