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GSA helps teachers get with the times

Signs+by+the+welcome+desk+send+GSA%27s+message+streaming+through+the+halls.
Signs by the welcome desk send GSA's message streaming through the halls.

Signs by the welcome desk send GSA's message streaming through the halls.

Oliver Hall

Oliver Hall

Signs by the welcome desk send GSA's message streaming through the halls.

Oliver Hall, Staff Writer

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Most students are very accepting of the LGBT community. They can tell you all about the importance of pronouns and the spectrum of sexuality. However, some teachers need help catching up with the latest generation.

Thus, after multiple requests from different teachers the GSA is doing three workshops across three weeks. Sarah Minette is a choir teacher for South and a supervisor for the GSA. She supplied a reason for the workshops: “the workshop is a response to teachers interest, we had a before school presentation at a staff meeting the GSA did and teachers came up to us afterwards and sent us emails asking if we could do more of these so our response is ‘of course.’ We would love to do more of these so that’s why we’re doing teacher workshops.”

She believes the workshops will have a noticeable impact on the way different teachers at South and how they act in class. She brought up some examples of accidental yet harmful behavior from teachers. “I think we just want to bring additional awareness to teachers in the ways in which they can facilitate safe classrooms for all their students because queerness is often times something that’s hidden in the sense that I can’t identify you as lesbian, gay, bi or for a lot of students trans. The thing is that teachers accidentally engage in microaggressions that they don’t even necessarily know about. So we’re just trying to make teachers more aware of language that they use. It’s something as simple as ‘Ladies and Gentlemen’ when you’re addressing a whole class because not everybody in the class may identify as a lady or a gentlemen.”

Minette talked more later about microaggressions that are hurtful towards some students, “Something I’ve heard from the students that I worked with is grouping based on perceived gender. So boys and girls in groupings or using gender as a way to describe something because gender and sex are very different. Those are the couple that come to mind just based on what I’ve heard from students.”

She explained how this behavior can be harmful towards students having said, “I think for students it’s that they feel invisible to some degree and, again, these microaggressions are not necessarily explicit and I would hope most of the teachers they are accidental.”

Red Gustafson is a freshman and a member of the GSA. The first workshop is introducing the LGBT community, freshman Red Gustafson who is working on all three of the workshops explained. (‘Gay is OK’ on the week of April 17.) “It’s introducing gay stuff and transgender stuff, so it’s for the teachers who don’t really know anything and want to learn more,” said Gustafson. They went further into detail describing the second workshop, (‘It’s Not A Phase Mom’ on the week of April 24,) “That one’s about the gays, the history of gays and why you should include it in your classroom and how to be accepting.” GUstafson then described the third workshop: (‘Break the Binary’ on the week of March 1) “Basically we talk about pronouns and not being normal.”

Abigail Gaul, a history/AVID teacher at South expressed her excitement for the upcoming workshops, “I’m excited too see a lot of students involvement in GSA this year and a lot of new leadership. I just feel like I still have a lot to learn on the issues and I would like to hear directly from students who obviously know best about their experience, so I’m excited to learn more about issues for our GSA students and to learn more about what I can do to help.”

 

If you would like to contact Sarah Minette about joining the workshops her email is [email protected].

 

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GSA helps teachers get with the times