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Strong Women, Strong Words

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Title: Strong Women, Strong Words


1
Strong Women, Strong Words
Allison M. Werlock December 13, 2007 EDU 634
  • A Literacy History

2
Essential Question
  • How have education, life-experience, and cultural
    norms influenced the career paths and life
    choices of women in my family?

3
Procedures
  • Sample Interview Questions
  • Do you remember how you learned to read?
  • How did you feel about reading as a child?
  • Did you enjoy going to school?
  • What were your favorite books growing up and how
    did they influence you?
  • Did you see yourself as a good student? Did you
    believe you were smart?
  • What did you want to be when you grew up? Was
    that dream supported?
  • How did you feel about the traditional
    expectations that women would become wives and
    mothers?
  • How did your life change as the roles of women
    in society changed?
  • Follow up questions asked as needed.

4
Theoretical Framework
  • DeBaryshe et al. (2000) believe that the home
    environment is particularly important in the
    development of literacy skills because children
    may have opportunities at home to
  • (a) become familiar with literacy materials, (b)
    observe the literacy activities of others, (c)
    independently explore literate behaviors, (d)
    engage in joint reading and writing activities
    with other people and (e) benefit from the
    teaching strategies that family members use when
    engaging in joint literacy tasks.
  • Half of a group of children aged 9 and 10
    believed they had already made decisions that
    would impact their future careers (Seligman,
    Weinstock, Heflin, 1991).
  • A retrospective study found that 23 of adults
    aged 40--55 had made decisions about their
    current professions in childhood (Trice
    McClellan, 1994).
  • Previous research with gifted high school girls
    and unselected high school and college students
    has shown significant positive correlations
    between occupational aspirations and both
    students self-perceptions of instrumental traits
    (stereotypically male characteristics such as
    assertiveness, confidence, and independence) and
    achievement motivation (Mendez and Crawford,
    2002).
  • Many researchers have noted that limited
    exposure to women in non-traditional careers may
    limit the occupational aspirations of gifted
    girls, who have the option to pursue education
    leading to a prestigious career but may not
    perceive it as being within their realm of
    options (Kerr, 1995).

5
My Family
Rosemary Howard Werlock Bennett Born January 3,
1948 Birthplace Quincy, MA Current Residence
Denmark, ME
Alyce DePesa Howard Born April 26,
1922 Birthplace Braintree, MA Current Residence
Tarpon Springs, FL .
Allison Werlock Born August 24, 1978 Birthplace
Montclair, NJ Current Residence Portland, ME
Dru Bennett Born January 20, 1986 Birthplace
Randolph, MA Current Residence Doylestown, PA
6
Early Life Alyce DePesa Howard
  • Describes herself as a hot ticket and
  • a show off
  • Father worked in a shoe factory, and
  • later owned a restaurant in Sculley
  • Square, Boston.
  • Her mother was a homemaker and was
  • one of the first in their neighborhood to
  • own a refrigerator and a washing
  • machine.
  • Her four sisters were beauticians and
  • their father purchased them a beauty
  • shop where they worked until they got
  • married.
  • Youngest of 10 children in a successful
  • Italian-American family in Quincy, MA
  • Two brothers were closest in age
  • Loved music, singing, and gymnastics,
  • never worried about schoolwork.
  • Oldest sister Adeline was a flapper in
  • the1920s, and won many Charleston
  • dance contests. She was voted the
  • prettiest brunette in Boston in a
  • newspaper contest.

7
Early Reading and Education Alyce DePesa Howard
  • Learned to read from reading with her older
    brothers and sisters. Her sisters would read
    childrens books to her and point out the words,
    and she would memorize them.
  • Her parents never read they were too busy with
    ten kids. They liked to listen to the radio as a
    family. Her father would play cards with the
    children as a treat, and take them all to the
    beach for the day on summer weekends.
  • In school they would write words on the board
    and then we would go over the words and then read
    the story. Then the teacher would ask you to read
    a line in front of the class. I didn't mind
    talking in front of the class, would do that
    rather than write about the story, You could
    write or you could say it orally. I didn't mind
    writing, but it was more of a chore.
  • Didnt have a lot of books at home. Mostly
    old-fashioned childrens books that were
    hand-me-downs of unknown origin.

8
Education and Self-Concept Alyce DePesa Howard
I was a show off - I thought I was a good
student because if I had any problems I would ask
my brothers and sisters they could help with my
homework and explain it to me. I always got good
grades. In junior high and high school I was on
the honor roll, you had to have all As and Bs and
1 C
I remember I got a plant at the end of fifth
grade I was never late and never absent and they
gave a prize for perfect attendance.
9
High School Alyce DePesa Howard
  • Graduated from Quincy High School in 1940.
  • School was divided into three tracks
  • Trades
  • Business
  • College
  • She took typing, shorthand, and accounting
  • classes to prepare for work.
  • College track was for girls who wanted to
  • become nurses or teachers.

Quincy High School
  • Favorite Subject was Social Studies because they
    studied and discussed current events.
  • Read Dickens and good books, classics, stories
    by famous people. Not Shakespeare though. The
    college bound students had to read that.
  • Teachers
  • I liked Ms. Birch. She was an English teacher,
    but
  • she explained everything to us, she made
    everything
  • clear. Some teachers you don't understand- I
    used to
  • understand her.
  • When I was older the science teacher gave me a
  • bad time because he didn't explain things
    too
  • much. I didn't hate him but I wasn't happy
    with
  • him

10
Aspirations and Career Choices Alyce DePesa
Howard
I always knew I wanted to work in a big office
and be important
  • 1941-1942 Worked in the office of a shipyard.
  • 1943 Enlisted in the WAVES (Women Accepted for
  • Volunteer Emergency Service) in the U.S. Navy
    and
  • served as a secretary for a warrant officer on
    a base in
  • Oklahoma.
  • 1945 Married and left the Navy
  • 1959 returned to work after the death of her
    oldest
  • son. Worked as a secretary for 3 PhDs at
    Johnson
  • Johnson in Springfield, MA, conducting product
    research.
  • 1972 Returned to Quincy and worked as the
    secretary
  • and office manager for The Boilermakers Union,
    local 29.
  • 1982 Retired, age 60.

11
Gender and Equality Alyce DePesa Howard
I joined the Navy because I had three brothers
in the service, Lester was in the Navy, Eddie was
in the Marines, and Paul was in Flight training
I thought if my brothers can serve, I can serve.
My sisters said anything I wanted to do was okay
with them. As long as I wasn't a hairdresser,
they all warned me about that. I took a boys
job. He worked in the office and he wanted to go
to War, and they drafted him and I took his job.
The warrant officer I worked for, he was very
fresh at first. He'd make me go right in the
men's room to do inspections and I took
shorthand. I had to prove myself. That warrant
officer I worked for, he got so he loved me. When
I got out he wrote me and said I was the best
secretary he ever had. At first he resented me, I
think he resented women in the service, but he
trusted me with everything.
12
Family Life Alyce DePesa Howard
Married Harold Howard in 1945
I never thought I would get married, when I went
in the service. Then Harold was one of my
boyfriends and he got transferred to officers
school and he used to write and think he would do
better in officers school if I married him.
Harold left the Navy at Alyces request in 1946,
just as his was finishing his training as a
pilot. She was pregnant with their first child
and wanted to be near her family.
They had three children, Charles, Rosemary, and
Deborah. The family moved to suburban
Springfield, MA in 1950. Charles died of cancer
in 1958, prompting Alyce to re-join the
workforce.
13
Early Reading and Education Rosemary
Howard Werlock Bennett
  • Was read to as a child constantly by her mother
    and older brother. Learned to read before
    starting school.
  • We'd all crawl into bed together and Nana
    would read to us, and then Charlie would read to
    us. In the afternoon, my brother would be reading
    and he would read to me. There were always lots
    of children's books in our home. My mother would
    read lots of books to us, but wouldn't read
    herself.
  • Favorite books included Hans Christian
    Andersons Fairy Tales, and Disney stories.
    Cinderella was favorite book of all time.
  • She loved to listen to her brother read Hardy
    Boys mysteries to her. She had no interest in
    Nancy Drew.
  • I hated board games with a passion. Most of the
    games we played were outdoors and active games,
    badminton, baseball, hopscotch, tag, bike races.
    Always tons of neighborhood kids. Boys and girls
    all playing together.

14
Education and Self-Concept Rosemary Howard
Werlock Bennett
  • I enjoyed being read to. I liked to read when I
    could read what I wanted to read, once I got to
    school I lost interest when they made me.
  • When my brother got sick, everything changed.
  • I was a great reader, but I can remember when I
    came across new words I could never sound them
    out and I could never spell, and it was very
    frustrating. I learned a lot of words by sight,
    and my comprehension was awesome, but my writing
    was horrible. It was such a struggle because I
    couldn't spell anything.
  • I was a good student- I was very attentive in
    class, I participated in class, I did all my
    work. I was always the perfect little girl,
    perfect behavior, never talked out, never
    misbehaved.
  • When I went to middle school, my work ethic
    wasn't what it should have been. I was a good
    kid, always well behaved, I was no longer a great
    students, I was just a good student. I knew I was
    still smart, but I was slacking off. My view of
    my being smart didn't change, I just knew I
    wasn't doing the best I could do.
  • Again it goes back to my brother being sick and
    then dying. And then my mother went out to work,
    which was really unusual. My parents always
    encouraged me and supported me, but there were
    distractions.

15
High School Rosemary Howard Werlock Bennett
Switched from Commerce High, the business track
public high school to Cathedral High a college
prep Parochial School in 11th grade.
I was so far behind academically, and I really
had to struggle to catch up because I didn't have
the background that most of the kids had who had
come up through the parochial system. I was
motivated to catch up, but it was really hard for
me and it was the first time I really had to
struggle. I went from being a straight A student
at Commerce, it was like hitting a wall. That
changed my perception, I wasn't so smart anymore
16
College Rosemary Howard Werlock Bennett
  • Enrolled in Bay Path Junior College in
    Longmeadow, MA
  • in Fall of 1965
  • Went to college because her mother wanted her to
  • She was too young to pursue her career goal of
    being a
  • flight attendant.
  • Wanted to live at home
  • Liked the appeal of an all girls school.
  • Wanted a small school with few distractions
  • Earned Associates degree in Secretarial Science.

17
Aspirations and Career Choices Rosemary Howard
Werlock Bennett
  • Decided she wanted to fly in airplanes while on a
  • trip to visit her fathers family in Indiana at
    age 4.
  • Shared her fathers passion for flying, from his
  • time as a Navy pilot.
  • Entertained the idea of joining the Air Force to
  • become a pilot, but learned the women werent
  • allowed to work in or near the planes.
  • Trained in Chicago and flew for United Airlines
    out
  • of Newark, NJ.
  • Stewardesses were subjected to weigh-ins and
  • make-up and uniform checks. They could not be
  • married, and had a mandatory retirement age of
  • 32.
  • Left job in 1971 because she grew tired of travel
    and wanted to have a family.
  • Went to work as a secretary, worked her way up
    to HR Director.

18
Gender and Equality Rosemary Howard Werlock
Bennett
We were very much in the limelight. We didnt
consider it sexual harassment, it was flirting.
Wed flirt with them, theyd flirt with us. That
was just part of the whole scenario. If the guys
didnt pay attention to you, you thought whats
wrong with me? You expected it. It was all part
of the glamour. The businessmen that flew,
treated us with respect. It was just playful,
not rude like today. .
I did it for the travel. As a single woman you
wouldnt travel respectably without an escort. As
a flight attendant , that was my cover. A lot
of the girls were married, they just had to hide
it. The last year I flew, in January they changed
the rule about being married, and all of a sudden
everyone was married.
19
Family Life Rosemary Howard Werlock Bennett
  • I always knew I wanted to be a mother I didnt
    care so
  • much about the marriage part, but back then you
  • needed to do one to do the other.
  • Married Joseph Werlock in January of 1977, after
  • living with him for 9 years. He was 13 years her
    senior.
  • Allison Werlock born in August, 1978.
  • Joseph died of lung cancer in December, 1982.
  • Packed up everything she could fit in the car ,
    sold the
  • rest, and moved back to Massachusetts to be
    closer to
  • her parents.
  • Worked part time in a secretary in a real-estate
    office
  • as a single-mother. Earned her Real Estate
    License.
  • Married Edward Bennett in March,1985, after
    dating
  • for six weeks. He is seventeen years her senior
  • Dru Bennett born in January, 1986, 2 months early
  • Moved family to Maine in 1987

20
Career and Further Education Rosemary Howard
Werlock Bennett
  • Of all the things that I never wanted to do,
    teaching and nursing were the two.
  • Started working in schools as a substitute
    teacher in the early 90s.
  • Hired full-time as a special education ed tech in
    1994 .
  • Returned to school part time in 1995 to complete
    her B.S. in
  • Behavioral Science, graduating in 2004 at age
    56.
  • Currently taking graduate courses in special
    education and employed
  • as a special education teacher at Fryeburg
    Academy.

I had to work so hard at it. College did not
come easy, I am not smart, but I worked so hard,
that is why I do as well as I do. Maybe its
because of my lack of confidence in my own
ability. It's just been one of those things.
Through the years of going to college, since
1995, I feel I'm not that smart and I have to
work hard, but my writing skills had definitely
come a long way and I am more confident in my
writing, but it doesn't come easily.
21
Career and Further Education Rosemary Howard
Werlock Bennett
My careers have changed according to the stage
in life, and my marital status and my children.
That is why and when they changed. I just pursued
different opportunities- just about everything
has always been open to me, I just didn't choose
to pursue it. At each stage in my life, I was
doing a job I loved, and as I changed, and as my
circumstances changed, my jobs changed. I loved
each one for what I did and the responsibilities
I had. It was what worked at the time. I've never
done a job I didn't like
I kind of fell into teaching, and it's kind of
interesting, when you say I love my job. I love
the kids, but I've always loved kids. I just seem
to click with them, I understand them, it just
works. I think that years ago, had I gone into
teaching, I wouldn't have been as good at it, but
now I'm much more compassionate and understanding
and patient.
22
My Sister, Myself Allison Werlock Dru Bennett
  • Both reading before we entered school.
  • Both believed from an early age we were smart,
    and we
  • expected to do well in school.
  • Both struggled with spelling and math, but
    didnt really put
  • in the effort we needed to improve.
  • Both put pressure on ourselves to do well, but
    felt we didnt
  • try as hard as we could have.
  • Would read together for hours as children.
    Favorite
  • books included The Witch of Blackbird Pond, and
    The Little
  • House books.
  • Dru cites The Thoroughbred series of books as a
    major
  • influence in her childhood. She has known she
    has
  • wanted to work with horses since she started
    riding at age 4.
  • I decided to become a teacher, while playing
    school with
  • Dru as a child and teaching her how to read.

23
My Sister, Myself 2 Allison Werlock Dru
Bennett
  • Never pushed to go to college, but always
    expected that we would. Neither of us considered
    not going.
  • Both enjoyed having our mother teach at our high
    school.
  • Saw college as an escape from small town life.
  • Dru says visiting her big sister at college
    helped her transition into college life more
    easily.
  • Dru graduates with a B.S. in Equestrian Science
    from Delaware Valley College in May, 2008.
  • Both still avid readers as adults.
  • Neither felt any academic or social pressure from
    our mother. She always just told us I want my
    girls to be happy. What we do to achieve that is
    up to us.

24
Conclusions
  • Women in my family have always done well in
    school. They set high standards for themselves,
    and perceived themselves to be good students. We
    all seem to struggle with spelling, and expressed
    frustration at not doing well. We seem to all
    share a common perception that although we were
    honors students, as long as we got good grades,
    school wasnt that important. We never felt we
    worked as hard as we could have.
  • Relationships with siblings have played a huge
    part in the development of early reading skills.
    Sharing books with family members continues to
    remain important. Many of our fondest memories
    involved reading with brothers and sisters.
  • Starting with my grandmother, our career and life
    choices have not generally been restricted by
    traditional ideas about womens work.
  • Although my grandmother and mother eventually
    married and had children, marriage was never a
    specific goal for them. Rather it was just
    something that happened. Their goals were more
    career oriented, even before that was common.
  • We developed our career aspirations at an early
    age, and were encouraged by family members to
    pursue our dreams. Conversations about career
    aspirations with family members were a common
    occurrence.
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