June 12, 2023
By Aleta Margolis, Founder and President, Center for Inspired Teaching
Hooray for Monday is a weekly blog filled with questions, ideas, reflections, and actions we can all take to remodel the school experience for students.
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Each year as school is wrapping up, Pride Month is starting up. Increasingly, teachers are using these last weeks to recognize the impact LGBTQ individuals have had on history – and many of these teachers are meeting resistance.
This is particularly striking in light of the recent CDC report raising alarm bells about children’s mental health – with a particular focus on increased risks and lack of school connectedness for those who identify as LBGTQ. Conflicts over whether their identity can be acknowledged in their classrooms are surely not helping.
A sense of belonging is a core need we all share. We long to be seen and heard. And we learn to be part of a community and to value others in it when we are taught to be open, to instead of afraid of, difference, and when we exercise curiosity instead of judgment.
The core purpose of school is to teach children about the world around them and equip them with the knowledge, mindsets, and skills to navigate it successfully. The world in which we and our children live – from distant lands to communities next door – includes all kinds of people with all kinds of identities. If we pretend otherwise, aren’t we engaging in educational malpractice? If we limit the kinds of literature our children read, the conversations we have with them and they have with one another, and the opportunities they have to share their full selves in a manner that intentionally excludes members of the LGBTQ+ community, we ARE presenting a false story to our children about the world in which they and we live.
It can be scary to practice inclusivity and advocate for true belonging in our schools when we know we will get pushback. But the consequences for our students could not be more clear. And there are experts rallying to support teachers doing this hard but necessary work. Here are a few sources to consider:
- Developing LGBTQ-Inclusive Classrooms A toolkit from GLSEN
- Actions LGBTQ Parents/Guardians Can Take to Support Their Children in Elementary School A toolkit from the Human Rights Campaign
- Best Practices for Serving LGBTQ Students A toolkit from Learning for Justice
- Know Your Rights: Students and LGBTQ Rights in Schools A guide from the Southern Poverty Law Center
- The Trevor Project The Trevor Project’s mission is to end suicide among LGBTQ young people
The Hooray for Monday readers and listeners I hear from are staunch advocates for their children, and believers in the vital importance of mutual respect in their school communities. We are grateful for your persistence as you push through the resistance to change.
What We’re Curious About
Each week a member of the Inspired Teaching community shares something that’s piquing their curiosity. We’d love to include what’s making YOU wonder right now! Submitting a curiosity is easy. Just follow these steps:
- Identify something you’re currently curious about. This could be in the form of a question or just a concept.
- Think about where this curiosity came from and what else it’s making you wonder about as you explore it.
- Record a voice memo (no longer than 2 minutes) in which you share your reflection on the above.
- Email the voice memo to Michelle Welk, Inspired Teaching’s communication and marketing specialist, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to include your full name, title, and where you work in your email.
We look forward to learning with you!
One way to affirm our students and their families is by establishing strong lines of communication early and throughout the school year. As you look to the fall, consider some of these strategies.
Our job in fostering inclusive classrooms isn’t to know all the answers, but to create a safe space for exploring the questions. This reflective activity helps students experience the many ways in which we all see things differently.