Supporting LGBTQ Students
Reading. Math. Social Studies. Science. Teachers, and their friends and family, are well aware that their responsibilities go far beyond the academic instruction they provide during class time.
Our children spend hours every day with their teachers. These professionals have dedicated their lives to educating children. The impact they have is tremendous.
If you are a teacher, some of your students are likely members of the LBGTQ community. While some children have already “come out” others may not have shared their identities publicly.
That said, your classroom (and your school) must be one where ALL students feel safe and supported. You cannot effectively learn in an environment filled with fear and animosity. As a teacher, there are several things you can do to encourage this. Consider these ideas!
Include LGBTQ Topics in Your Lessons: There are so many opportunities to enrich your curriculum. You can read about famous LGBTQ people. And, you can study its history and the strides that have been made. If you have a younger class, consider picture books that tell stories of all different types of families. LGBTQ topics can be used to enrich almost every subject!
Stand-Up to Bullies: So many students are the victims of bullying. Unfortunately, LGBTQ students are even more likely to suffer. Keep an eye out for these situations and put a stop to them immediately. No one should be made to feel uncomfortable or afraid in school.
Advocate for the Community as a Whole at School: Be proactive in your support for your students. If you hear students or colleagues disparaging those who identify as LGBTQ, let them know their comments are inappropriate. And, if you have the time, consider starting an LBGTQ Group at your school. This raises awareness and provides a much-needed outlet for so many children.
Keep Learning: Do some research, for your own benefit, on the issues facing LGBTQ students. Understand how to identify and address problems. Learn more about the community as a whole. The more knowledgeable you are the better the support you can provide.
As a teacher, the influence you have over your students is incredible. While it may not always be obvious, they hear every word you say and see how you react and behave each day. The strides you make to be supportive of your LGBTQ students both directly and positively influence them. Modeling appropriate and inclusive behavior benefits your entire class.
Take advantage of your position, your abilities, and your opportunities. Make a plan to support your LGBTQ students today.