This activity encourages students to learn about the adults who work in their school while they gain understanding of gender bias and stereotyping.
To prepare for this activity, think about all of the adults your students come in contact with each day: the nurses, the custodians, the principal, the teachers, the media specialist, the counselors, etc. Briefly survey each adult on your list. Find out what other careers or positions he or she held prior to arriving on your campus. Be sure that you can explain all careers identified.
With students, write two lists on the board. On the left-hand side, list the adults who work in your school. Consider including photographs in case students do not know the adults by name. On the right-hand side, list all the jobs and careers these staff members held in the past.
Instruct students to match the position with the person they think held it. Students can talk with each other, make predictions and share their assumptions openly. Allow 10 to 15 minutes of speculation and discussion about which career goes with which adult.
Reveal the actual matches. Ask students if any of the outcomes surprise them and why. Listen for gender stereotypes and prejudicial statements. This activity creates an opportunity to talk about gender stereotypes and how they can limit our perceptions, identities and interactions.
Check out another activity for exploring gender stereotyping in the workforce at tolerance.org/stereotyping-awareness.