Confidence is a key component of my teaching philosophy. Don’t ask me why, but I have always been a very confident person. People could say mean things to me and I didn’t care; I rarely feel self conscious. I am very comfortable with who I am and people can take it or leave it.
But I am a rarity among the female population and as a future teacher I hope to influence the next generation of women. Particularly when it comes to our confidence in our bodies and athletic abilities.
In my Education Social Context class earlier this semester we analyzed different commercials and the messaging behind them. We watched a man’s athletic clothing company commercial where the men played as a team and defeated demons in a bad ass way. We compared that to another commercial by the same clothing company for women. In this commercial we heard the thoughts of women in the gym as they compared themselves to other women, told themselves they couldn’t do it, and generally gave off anxiety about being in the gym and working out alone.
The “inspirational” part came at the end when the woman completed her workout and thought “Wow! I did it!”
I was horrified! The fact that it reinforced serotypes about women judging each other in the gym, I hated how the message was “Surprise! You can workout if you put your mind to it.” I very strongly gave my thoughts on it and waited for my fellow female physical educators to also chime in. But instead of being annoyed by the message, some of them talked about how they identified with the characters. Many said they thought the women were echoing the very thoughts they had when they went to the gym and my heart strings tugged.
Why?!?! Ladies- why are we intimidated by the gym and by each other? Why do we constantly compare to others?
This is an issue we need to address and something I need to help little girls work on in my future career as a PE teacher. But how do I teach confidence when I’ve never had to work on it?
My mantra has always been “I’m Rachel Motherf***ing Tynan! (now Richards)” I always told myself that no one could hold me down, and that I could do anything I put my mind to it and worked hard enough.
Now I am in the classroom and I see some girls that need a shot of confidence in themselves and their abilities.
What are some tips and tricks YOU do to feel great about yourself?
How do you walk into the gym and not worry if people are judging you?
How do you stop from comparing yourself to other people?