I fight so that every student who walks through my classroom door will know that they have a place, not only in my classroom, but in the world.

I fight so that every student who walks through my classroom door will know that they have a place, not only in my classroom, but in the world. I’ve been moved, over the past two decades of teaching, to see how the conversation and attitudes are shifting; young people today are more aware, more open, less afraid than they were when I started teaching in 1990. Yet recently, when I gave my “hate speech” lecture, a young woman first teared up, then started to cry, and then pulled her head inside of her shirt and sobbed. When I approached her after class, she said through her tears that it was the FIRST TIME in her ten years of school that a teacher had ever said, out loud, that hate speech against GLBTQ people was just that. She’d grown up with two moms and a constant onslaught of low-level hate surrounding her every day. The next day, one of her moms came in to thank me. I think, maybe, that broke my heart more than anything – that the simple act of speaking a simple truth would feel so revolutionary to a young woman who just needed someone to stand up and say it. Why did she have to wait ten years?

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One response to “I fight so that every student who walks through my classroom door will know that they have a place, not only in my classroom, but in the world.

  1. Thank you for sharing, and yes, I become emotional too when I read stories of this nature. I only wish I had that kind of support in the seventies growing up and attending an all boys private school. Bullying and hateful acts were a daily occurrence in my young life.
    However, the paradigm is changing. Young people are more open and accepting of diversity. We need to keep moving forward, and strive to educate our youth, for they are the leaders of the future.
    Thank you again for sharing, and please keep notice of our Acceptance Tour in May of 2011.

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