Earlier this year, there was a little Bard panel for the current students that I was invited to as an in-service teacher to speak at (with others). The session was about being an LGBTQ teacher, since those pre-service teachers wanted to know how go about it. (Are you out to your students/coworkers, etc.) I told them that I was out to my students, but only when it was relevant. I wasn’t going to announce it on the first day, but it would come up at some point, and I would be truthful. My students last year found out pretty early, because someone asked in Advisory and it spread around.
This year, though, while a handful of students had asked privately, and while there were some rumors from the 10th graders, they mostly didn’t all know until February. So when I taught my statistics unit in November, I decided to have fun with it. I was doing Dan Meyer’s How I Met Your Mother lesson and updated it a bit. See, I wouldn’t just use Dan’s list of fabricated ex-girlfriends. (For one thing, the start dates are too early.) So I made my own, see if you can spot it:
Yeah, I specifically chose all the names so they were all androgynous. And during the lesson I only referred to them as my “exes” (much like Ramona Flowers did in Scott Pilgrim) and using “they.” So I never assigned gender to the people. The students did, though, and I thought it was super interesting to see who assumed they were girls, who assumed they were guys, and who actually caught on that all the names could be either (only 2 or 3 did).
Just playing that tightrope game made me smirk throughout the whole lesson. Mostly because it was just a game, as walking that tightrope while trying to actually hide your sexuality would be terrifying. But since I wasn’t trying to hide, it was fun. And that was my advice to those Bard pre-service teachers: have fun with it. Because if you’re comfortable enough to have fun with it, they’ll be comfortable, too.