The past five years have witnessed a landmark re-emergence of gender diversity in North American public life and a surge in mainstream media representation. Transgender-spectrum people – those with a gender identity that does not align with expectations based on our assigned sex – are standing on decades of trans activism and increasingly bringing our entire selves to our workplaces, schools, and other public places.
As the school year gets under way, many of us are thinking about, planning and setting up our classrooms. We are thinking about our new students, and how we are going to plan our school year to meet the needs of all our students.
Bullying. Ostracism. Peer pressure. Exclusion. Most teachers have faced these destructive forces at one point or another and struggled with how to address these issues in the classroom. This is how Facing History and Ourselves helped prepare me for confronting these issues in my classroom.
One of the questions that we often struggle with as teachers, and even more so as teachers that cover issues of genocide, is How do we even begin to understand something that is so far removed from most of our personal experiences?
What does a safe classroom look like to you?
I am sure in thinking about a safe classroom some key terms such as respectful, inclusive, or equitable cross your mind.
What would happen if you asked your class the same question?
Stories matter: They shape the way we see ourselves, the way we see others, and the way we understand history. By sharing and listening to stories, we recognize ourselves as part of the human story, as individuals who can change the narrative by making positive choices and shaping our world.