Our district had a full PD day yesterday for teachers. The workshops were presented across a series of topics for meeting student needs. We had special ed workshops, technology workshops, and a variety of others.
One workshop presented was called “That’s So Gay: Supporting our LGBTQ students”. It was a mandatory workshop for high school staff members, but all staff were welcome. I decided to attend. And I am glad I did.
I teach 6th grade. 6th graders struggle in so many ways with so many things. This workshop helped me see that the words we use- day in and day out- can make such a huge difference in the mind of a child. The things we don’t even think about.
Boys line up first… girls next.
Boys passes and girls passes for the bathroom.
King or Queen for the day.
If you are wearing blue, please line up… etc.
Make teams… two boys and two girls.
Seating arrangements boy, girl, boy, girl, boy, girl.
Do you use gender to do most things in our classrooms? Yes, I think we do. Is it mean? Is it intentional to alienate certain children? No, it’s not. What if we stopped this practice to ensure that all kids are accepted? What if we simply used numbers or other non-gender specific ways to do things?
We don’t look twice when a girl walks into the cafeteria with a baseball hat, but what if a boy walked in with a princess crown?
Girls have camo clothes… but do boys have princess pants?
I think we have come a LONG way in supporting our girls and ensuring they have the ability to be and do what they want. But what about our boys… can they be and do whatever they want? I think we have some way to go.