I was introduced to The Baby-Sitters Club at the tender age of nine-years-old in the nineties. For the rest of my tween years, the lives of Kristy, Mary-Anne, Dawn, Claudia, Stacey, Jessi, and Mallory became my entire universe. What I didn’t realize is that the BSC actually taught me a lot about being a teacher. The release of The Baby-Sitters Club Netflix show and the insane nostalgia it has brought me has also reminded me why I wanted to be a teacher. The book series taught me to build relationships with the students first before teaching them. Here are some reasons why the BSC helped me to become the inclusive teacher I am today.
One of the things that made the BSC so unique and gave them an edge against the evil copycat club The Baby-Sitters Agency is their creation of the kid kits! The Baby-Sitters Club basically created these hands-on toys and creative projects that something every kid could interact with! As a teacher, I believe it’s essential to have the kind of classroom materials that all kids can interact with to foster their love of learning. I have used my own version of kid kits by utilizing puzzles to teach sequencing and magnetic letters with cookie sheets to build words. I have even grabbed plastic cups to explain middle sounds in words!
Although the diversity was lacking in The Baby-Sitters Club original series, the Netflix series definitely made up for it. The original series only had Claudia, who is Japanese American, and Jessi, who is black. Now in the Netflix series, they included Mary-Anne, who is Black and Dawn, who is Latinx. Since I am a teacher in Miami, I am used to teaching in a very diverse classroom. One of the things I have been working on in my class for the past few years is cultivating a diverse library where the students can see themselves in books. I have created projects where students talk about their home country. When the students are coloring, I have the kids use Crayola crayons specializing in different skin colors.
Ending Gender Bias
When Kristy Thomas clapped back to the teacher about how Thomas Jefferson said, “all men are created equal,” the teacher punished her by assigning an essay about “decorum” that reminded me of gender bias in the classroom. One of the things I do to combat gender bias is not assuming a girl will always love pink, and a boy will still choose blue. My students get to choose what colors they want to use for their art projects. Also, I call on the students on a random basis using popsicle sticks instead of showing a preference for one gender more than another. Throughout my teaching career, I have learned that gender is a social construct, and we must put an end to gender stereotypes.