Today we recognize and celebrate women all over the world for their achievements and bring awareness to the adversities women face in their day to day lives. In celebration of International Women’s Day, Yoobi sat down with 3rd grade teacher, Tatiana Grogan as she discussed her role as being a woman in education and what this important day means to her.
1. What do you do for work? What does it mean to be a woman in your career?
I am an elementary school teacher and Equity Lead in Minneapolis. To be a woman in education is to change the narrative around what it means to be a teacher. Teachers have been previously thought of as puritanical and demure people who teach children their ABCs and 123s. If a non-educator spent at least 30 minutes in any classroom, they would see so much more than academic learning. We are teaching little people to respond to big feelings and navigate the world around them. Many times it has nothing to do with “reading, writing, ‘rithmetic.” Being a woman in education is equivalent to being a teacher, therapist, nurse, social worker, counselor, pseudo parent figure, and whatever our students need to feel supported and believed in so they can be successful.
2. What does International Women’s Day mean to you?
YASSSSS LADIES! International Women’s Day is one way to show the bold, little women in our lives what we are capable of when we break traditional gender roles. It means steps are being taken in the right direction. Anytime a woman, even more so when she’s a woman of color, is lifted up and recognized for her accomplishments, it is a BIG deal and should be celebrated as such. It does not diminish the accomplishments of men, but for so long the narrative has been flooded with what men have done for society and innovation, that no longer can we accept that we are “the weaker sex” and that our achievements are lesser.
3. Who is your female role model? Why?
On a direct level, is it cheesy to say my momma?! I am the oldest of five girls and my mom raised all of us to be strong and resilient women. As a single mom, she worked, earned two Master’s Degrees, read us stories, wiped our tears, and told us when that outfit just wasn’t working.
Indirectly, my female role model is Madame Marie Curie. In 4th grade, we had to research an individual and write an autobiographical presentation. Due to the selection in our rural elementary library, there weren’t many women to pick from. The other girls in my class ended up picking European queens or men to research. At the time I was really into science and somehow came across Madam Curie in one of my books at home. Not only did her discoveries revolutionize the scientific community, but she was truly a pioneer in her field. First woman to win a Nobel Prize…and only human to win twice in two different fields! Her story and legacy left an impression on me that women can do anything.
4. What makes you feel empowered?
Having my voice at the table. It’s one thing as a woman to have a place at the table, yet infinitely more empowering when you have a voice and your voice is valued and respected. Even in a female dominated profession, many times our superiors are men. I’m grateful to have had strong, women leaders in my career. I have been able to see my ideas brought to life to improve culture and student outcomes in our schools.
5. What is the best advice you could pass on to other women?
Protect your peace. However that resonates with you, protect what is going to allow you to be your best self. Remember that you do not “deserve” rest, take what you need when you need it.