Educators Discuss Gender in the Classroom
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Educators Discuss Gender in the Classroom


in kindergarten it comes up a lot
you know boys don’t like pink and I’m just and I just wonder you know where
did that come from and then so as a class, when that
happens I’d like to talk to the class about well you know where that idea
comes from so I’m a transgender man and I’m very
binary but on with with I’ve had students who were identified as
genderqueer and they’ve challenged me because I was not like I didn’t
understand they/them pronouns for a long time and so I’ve had to learn in this
process of opening and listening and learning you know I teach about this
spectrum of diversity but not really honoring the sense that you can have a
gender identity that is just as authentic anywhere in that world and I’ve learned a lot from the people I’ve worked with in that stuff over time even for those of us who live it, there’s much to learn as a teacher when
a student walks in and they’re gender nonconforming suddenly it’s like I have
to create this classroom space that is safe for them and there are certain
things when it comes to identity whether that’s racial identity gender identity
sexual orientation any of those things they will tell me what their truth is
and my job is to hear them and listen and I think as parents that’s so important for our kids we’re talking about gender we could be talking about family diversity we could
be talking about race and differences we could be talking about just you know
games that girls play games boys play so all of that for me falls under the
umbrella of creating a safe inclusive classroom where all students can be safe so a couple things I do now that I didn’t used to do before is I’m
very conscientious about not putting the kids like if I need two quick groups I
don’t go boys and girls another thing I do too is there’s a lot of math
activities for some reason that revolve in our curriculum that we use that
revolve around the boys doing this and the girls doing that and then I think
it’s just because it’s a quick way to divide the kids up into two quick groups
so I have like my two quick groups listed out and I use those quick groups
you do bees and horses you know we could do like doing anything but not boys and
girls one thing I do that to keep things
gender-neutral to as I say calling all readers calling all writers I address
what they’re doing at the time and I call them that like as if they’re
professional whatever’s I think understanding that a
transgender kid or gender non-conforming kid is on a daily basis
getting barraged with negativity and even when they’re most really encapsulated
well by their family they’re getting that so if they’ve gotten support so
they’ve got people that are holding them up well they learn how to deal with that
stuff when it comes in and they manage it very much like other kids do, they might get
bullied here and there and that kind of stuff but the kids who don’t have that
they’re out there all on their own Gender Spectrum meets people where
they are Gender Spectrum meets people where they are and they have a
conversation and so that idea, when I learned that that just felt really good
to me because I was like bumping up against some resistance and so I’m glad to
find that there’s an organization that can work with the teachers and the
parents at my school

About James Carlton

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1 thought on “Educators Discuss Gender in the Classroom

  1. one of the things we need to absolutely change is to drop, discard and destroy the phrase "gender non-conforming" – there's no linguistic way to avoid the negativity attached to that way of labeling or categorizing someone – people are not "racially non-conforming" if they are the only black person in a class where everyone else is white (like the black person 'should be' white but they are just not conforming ??!!!?!?! – insane – so why use this abusive 'non-conforming' terminology for non-binary people ?)

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