• HeatherJoy Bagnall

It’s Not Always My Duty To Apologize

“No country can ever truly flourish if it stifles the potential of its women and deprives itself of the contributions of half of its citizens.”

~Michelle Obama

It’s 2020, men and women can work wherever they choose. Men and women can become as educated as they choose. Men and women can live as they choose. Equality has been found. These are amazing sentiments, true surface deep.

Men are taught to apologize for their weaknesses, women for their strengths.

~Lois Wyse

Working in the education world, one would think well-behaved men and women would always work for the bottom line, the growth, prosperity, and education of our children and the care and further education of our teachers. It works that way ~ until it doesn’t. Far too often in rural New York, under qualified men suppress overqualified women. Does it happen elsewhere? Most likely, but this is my story and this is where I live. As long as our leading men have their egos and whatnot rubbed, women are fine. If you correct a man, he goes to another man to complain and down the line. Sometimes there is a woman he complains to and either she is willing to throw that woman under a bus to protect herself or she is a bigger bitch and stands up for the woman in question. Still, the number of times I have heard a man apologize, once. The number of times I have heard a woman apologize for being right, for being strong, for being outspoken, for stepping out of her allotted box, too many to count, and I have been guilty too. What happens when we don’t accept blame on days we are not wrong?

When a man gives his opinion, he is a man.

When a woman gives her opinion, she’s a bitch.

~Bette Davis

We hear and talk about transformational education and 21st-century education. First, if our schools are talking about 21st-century education, they are already decades behind. A few great schools were already teaching 21st-century skills at the end of the 20th-century, appropriate timing! This story is not about that. I ask to hear the stories over and over again from colleagues out of the area, like a child hearing the story of a fat man with a magic sleigh, on a star glistening night, wondering what would he bring me?! Frankly, there can’t be transformational education here in rural New York until it includes fair work practices for women who work in education. Yes, there are a few women in leadership roles here. Some are amazing even and yet, some still cow down to the bully bull superintendent or the old man president of the board of education. I have seen multiple women hired for their Barbie Doll figures and long blonde hair. Don’t get me wrong, one of these women I had a great deal of respect for, but she didn’t answer the bull’s personal requests, nature took its course, and she was sent out to pasture.

The fastest way to change society is to mobilize the women of the world.

~Charles Malik

I made the mistake of correcting a man in charge of education recently. He wasn’t too pleased with my email. My email corrected an accusation he made about me. My email was point-blank and respectfully written. A leader in education looked at the email and thought, if he had received this from me, then perhaps he had been misguided. An arrogant rural New York leaders looked at this email and was offended. He went to another man to tell me so. That man spoke down to me and tried to diminish my worth. Instead of seeing two sides of an issue, it was all about my email. He wasn’t too pleased with YOUR email. You need to apologize. No.

I apologize for everything all of the time. There have been days when I have apologized for not knowing why I am apologizing, breathing perhaps. I am in a typical woman, I wear my heart on my sleeve. I sign my emails to my teachers and colleagues with a little green heart. But, No, I will not apologize for this email. This is part of a bigger issue. What did not please him about my email? I said, Dear Sir. I used words like, please, and thank you. I stated the issue, I supported with evidence, where he may have been misled ~treding lightly, stated I looked forward to talking to him soon, and I thanked him for his time.

A man told me that for a woman, I was very opinionated.

I said, ‘For a man, you’re kind of ignorant.’

~Anne Hathaway

Equality is not here in the world of education. At least it is not here in rural New York. Women are not equal in rural New York. I didn’t bow down and say please sir, can I have some more. I did not apologize for something I did not do wrong. I stood up for myself to an egotistical, arrogant man who had been lied to about me. This is the trend. I am, not allowed to talk to superintendents, I am not good enough. I am to stay in my lane, in my box. No one else on my team has to. I am bored with low-level thinking and when I state reasons to use higher-level thinking I am scolded. I am not apologizing. Our students are worth more than what they are offered from underqualified men who stick together. The real issue at hand is being ignored because it is easier to demand an apology from a woman than to increase higher-level thinking and decrease ignorance, even in education.


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