Tips for Educators
The following is the list of tips for educators included in the back of my book along with additional, helpful bonus content. Feel free to leave a comment below with your tips.
No matter the age or grade level, if you have a career in education, you will teach lesbian, gay, bisexual, questioning (LGBTQ) and gender nonconforming children.
More than three percent of the population identifies as LGBTQ. That means that if there are 30 students in a class, at least one of them is LGBTQ. And, gender variance or a transgender identity occurs in as many as one of every 500 births – making it more common than childhood diabetes.
Educators have the unique opportunity to change stereotypes, address social injustices, decrease bullying, and increase empathy and acceptance. Please plan your curriculum and classroom accordingly. Consider implementing these tips in an age-appropriate manner:
Tips for Educators:
- Emphasize that the members of the class are a community and every child is needed, special, unique, valued and has something different to offer the community. If everybody were exactly the same, the community would be boring.
- Ensure that every child in the classroom feels safe and included. Let children know that they should be working to make others feel safe and included, as well. It’s not just the teacher’s job, it’s everybody’s job.
- Teach children about empathy. Educators don’t have to provide in-depth lessons on gender, sex, and sexuality, but they do have a responsibility to teach children about empathy, kindness and acceptance. Children need to be taught how to work, play and get along with all kinds of people.
- Create a tolerant, inclusive and accepting environment that teaches children to recognize and resist stereotypes. Introduce them to books that show children and adults in atypical gender roles and use gender neutral terms when discussing careers and members of the community (i.e. police officer instead of policeman).
- Explain to children that everyone has their own style and that people are allowed to dress and wear their hair any way they want. Everyone gets to pick their own style. If you like someone’s style, tell them. Compliments should be shared, criticisms should not.
- Make your classroom a place where all children are free to learn and play without the strict confines of stereotypes. All colors, games, activities and toys can be enjoyed by everyone. Nothing is “just for boys” or “just for girls.”
- Resist the urge to use gender to divide students into lines, groups or teams. That makes some students feel uncomfortable and distracts them. And, it’s hard to teach a child when she or he is distracted or uncomfortable. Try something new.
- Eliminate gender when addressing pupils. Instead, address them using gender neutral terms like students, friends, scholars, class, children, people, human beings, etc.
- Know the nation’s and your state’s anti-bullying and anti-discrimination laws. Teach students about the laws and how to stand up for themselves and others, to resist bullying and to work together. Empower children to be allies.
- View parents of LGBTQ and gender nonconforming children as resources and teammates, not high-maintenance liabilities. It’s not two teams against each other; it’s one team in favor of the child. Also, realize that sometimes bullies aren’t just at school, sometimes they are at home. If you see a child in distress, help them.