Almost Taboo

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Leader08, Mar 23, 2010.

  1. Leader08

    Leader08 Rookie

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    Mar 23, 2010

    Hello,

    I am new to this chat room and I wanted to ask something that may seem taboo to some of you. I am a gay man and have a true passion in wanting to be a teacher. I know that I would be a great educator. With this said, I am so afraid of following my passion, due to the fear of working in the educational world and dealing with the phobias and negative thoughts that some parents and staff may have about my personal life. May I please have some advice over this matter. I do not act like Jack from "Will and Grace," but I am no Clint Eastwood either. Should being gay stop me from becoming an awesome teacher? Should I open up to the staff I will work with? Should I deny to answer questions when they ask me about my personal life? Any advice or true stories from gay or straight teachers is sincerely appreciated.

    Thanks
     
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  3. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Mar 23, 2010

    Hi and welcome.

    I'm not gay, and to the best of my knowledge none of the teachers with whom I work in my Catholic high school is.

    But that's pretty much the point: I don't know because it has nothing to do with the job.

    You didn't say you were a sexual predator; you spoke about your sexual preferance. That has nothing to do with your ability to teach, and to teach well.

    As to whether or not you should come out at work-- I'll leave that to others with a better background. But don't abandon what you want because of who you are!!
     
  4. Toak

    Toak Cohort

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    Mar 23, 2010

    Depends on the area you will be working in - some are way more accepting than others. My mother's high school (70s) had two female gym teachers that were a lesbian couple and everyone knew that

    when it comes to harassment and discrimination, being gay isn't any different than being disabled. Well actually it might be a bit better because you probably won't have parents screaming at you that you are faking being gay to do less work and not as many will accuse you of affecting their children with gayness

    What grades will you be teaching? High schoolers will probably out you and call you gay, but then they are apt to do that even if you are straight in the first place. I'd say probably stick to around 3-6th grade because the kids are old enough that "male in the classroom" doesn't set off parents child molestor radar, and young enough that in most suburban and rural schools there isn't a sexual component to the kids daily minds (even if they talk about sex they often have no clue what they are talking about - ie many kids that age still pictures flies trying to turn a lightbulb when they hear the old "how many flies does it take to screw in a lightbulb joke" which they may repeat excessively

    I had a gay girl going for teaching in my university and she made it known. I know she had trouble with one professor grade wise as a result. On the other hand, I once dated a man who loves to wear skirts and tights in public and he's currently teaching in a Catholic school twice a week
     
  5. Grover

    Grover Cohort

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    Mar 23, 2010

    Attitudes are changing- everything depends on where you teach. A lot of upscale schools in some regions are very open about such things, and at the other end of the spectrum, a lot of schools in disadvantaged areas can't afford to be too choosy. There's still plenty of prejudice and anyone with 'lifestyle' issues may be at risk, but frankly, all teachers are at risk for false accusations. It's just a matter of degree.
     
  6. msmullenjr

    msmullenjr Devotee

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    Mar 23, 2010

    There are 4 gay teachers is my district that I am aware of and no one seems bothered by it. Some of them are very vocal about it, others are more private. One of them, whom I have personally worked with in the past, was one of the best teachers at that school IMO. Go for it.
     
  7. ginac

    ginac Rookie

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    Mar 23, 2010

    gay teachers

    I have worked with a few gay teachers. Two were men and never told anybody anything. Of course, they started teaching many years ago when it was really difficult. Everyone "thought" the one man was gay, but we were surpised when we found out the other man was gay. I also worked with a gay PE teacher and she did not flaunt or hide it. Actually, I worked with 2 men who were married that I would pick for gay before the other two men.
    If you let them know you are gay, getting in the school door for the interview might be the most difficult thing. I do not think it is anyone's business when you apply for the job and they cannot ask.
    Just like I had a friend who was 2 months pregnant and did not tell anyone when she was interviewed. They would have never hired her and she is a great teacher. Good luck with your pursuit in education.
     
  8. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    Mar 23, 2010

    Hi Leader08 and welcome. I merged your two threads which were posted in different forums. We try to post in one forum at a time here. Enjoy.
     
  9. gottagoodgig

    gottagoodgig Companion

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    Mar 23, 2010

    Go for it! You could be an amazing teacher! You'll never know unless you try. I worked at a school with an openly gay women. In our district, we have a male elementary principal who is gay. I have also worked with many other folks who I wondered about.....I would say being out at work depends on how important it is to you to speak about that part of your life. I also think it really depends on where you teach. Some cities/areas are very liberal whereas others are not.

    It's estimated that 10% of our population is LGBT, so think about that 10% of kids that could use a great mentor. And, that other 90% also need you too! Even if not out, you can show that a man can be comfortable with himself and care a lot about kids and their learning. Many students don't get that at home.

    If you want to be a teacher...go for it! You'll be glad you did...it's an amazing job. You give so much, but gain so much more. Good luck to you and keep us posted!
     
  10. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    My personal opinion is that sexual preference is a personal matter. I really don't understand why it needs to be discussed outside the lives of the people in the relationship. If you want to be in the teaching profession...go for it. What difference does your sexual preference have to do with the job? Good luck and enjoy the passion of teaching!
     
  11. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Virtuoso

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    There is really no reason for me to know the sexual preference of my co-workers. That's not a job issue. I do happen to know that one of them is gay, but that's because I know him outside of school as well.

    He is "out" in his personal life, and he is . . . well, just himself at work. The kids never say anything about it. Nobody seems to care.

    I work in a rural, conservative school, too.
     
  12. WindyCityGal606

    WindyCityGal606 Enthusiast

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    If I work with anyone who's gay, I wouldn't know because we don't discuss our sex lives at work. We work in a school and it would just be inappropriate talk in such an environment. With that said, if you worry that people might "figure it out" and out you or put you on the spot, maybe you should first become comfortable with who you are so that it wouldn't matter to you personally yet you would be ready to respond appropriately to any such talk. Such talk would be out of line in a classroom any way and shouldn't happen. I would assume it would violate a student conduct code and would be dealt with as such. If you are flamboyant and your sexuality is obvious, tone it down. I like to be sexy and sexual but not at school. Why would I be like that there? There's no reason to bring that to school. That's not the venue. I keep that side to myself until I am in an appropriate environment. Just because there are things we like to do doesn't mean we do it wherever we feel like it. Just like we teach our students, there is a proper way to behave according to where you are.
     
  13. TeacherGrl7

    TeacherGrl7 Devotee

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    There are two gay male teachers working in my elementary school. To my knowledge they are very private about it where parents and students are concerned, but they are very open with the staff. Both are in committed long term relationships- their partners come to all of our social functions and it is beautifully irrelevant.

    I also have a cousin who is a lesbian and is teaching kindergarten in a nearby district. She recently became pregnant. I have yet to get to speak to her about how/if she is addressing this with her students and their families (five-year-olds are incredibly inquisitive!) but I know that before the pregnancy, she had been very private about her relationship with parents and students, but not her coworkers, and had never had any problems.
     
  14. busybeeZ

    busybeeZ Rookie

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    My Kindergarten Teacher was gay and used to bring his partner to school events. I guess where I grew up was more open to this than many places, but I don't think that should stop you from a career in education. I guess I should add that my family raised me in a community with all kids of folks, and I have never been able to understand the reasoning behind some people being unaccepting of another person's lifestyle.
     
  15. shouldbeasleep

    shouldbeasleep Enthusiast

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    I don't know of anyone who cares about the sexual preference of teachers. But then again, I don't hang around people who would. It's never been brought up or discussed. One of our teachers is gay, and the only reason anyone knows is that her partner comes to all of our staff parties. I have no idea if anyone else is gay.

    But I do know whether or not they are good teachers.
     
  16. Leader08

    Leader08 Rookie

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    Mar 25, 2010

    Thanks

    Thanks everyone for the excellent feedback. :rolleyes:
     
  17. JackTrader

    JackTrader Comrade

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    Mar 25, 2010

    A history lesson...way back in the 70s, in California there was an anti-gay ballot proposition called the Briggs Initiative, which would have banned gays from working in education. It was defeated, even in those days.

    Today it should not be an issue...
     
  18. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

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    Mar 25, 2010

    I don't think it should ever stand in your way! Your sexual orientation doesn't determine what type of teacher you'll be. I just read a very nice article about a gay teacher who started the Gay-Straight Alliance clubs you see in many schools now. You can read the article at this link: http://www.edutopia.org/teaching-tolerance-gay-straight-alliance . I hope this helps and I wish you the best of luck with becoming an educator :)
     
  19. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    I don't feel that you need to discuss the act of sex in order to know or infer that a colleague is homosexual. I know about all of my colleagues' spouses and you can trust that we have not discussed any bedroom behavior. Just sayin'. :)

    As to your concerns, as others have posted, there really isn't a definitive answer. Even in a region/district/school that takes no issue with your sexual orientation, you may still experience the wrath of a select few parents who find it bothersome. Of course, that's truly unfortunate. It's simply something to be aware of going into really any profession...but I think you know about this better than I do, that people anywhere can be judgmental, not only in the classroom.

    Best wishes!
     
  20. kinderkids

    kinderkids Virtuoso

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    What does personal life have to do with teaching in a classroom? I can't imagine anyone going into an interview discussing bedroom activity with a potential employer. I have been teaching for over 17 years and no one has asked me about my sex life, why do you assume it will come up with people you work with? Unless you CHOOSE to discuss it, I can't imagine anyone really giving a ****.
     
  21. WindyCityGal606

    WindyCityGal606 Enthusiast

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    What she said:thumb:
     
  22. Securis

    Securis Cohort

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    This is similar to my experience. I worked with a fellow teacher who had a flare about him. He was open about his lifestyle but not 'in your face'. He was awesome with the children, they learned, and no one seemed to care.
     
  23. JoshCHT

    JoshCHT Rookie

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    Mar 25, 2010

    Straight teachers make their orientation known all the time. They wear their wedding rings and some of them have pictures of their spouses and children on their desks. They may casually refer to their spouses/fiances/significant others and their children while telling a story. They may even bring their spouses to school functions.

    Do they get accused of talking about their sex lives or being in people's faces for being openly straight?

    Besides being straight or gay is more than just sex isn't it? A celibate straight person is still straight and a celibate gay person is still gay aren't they? Relationships are more than sex too as there is usually love, emotional intimacy and support, commitment etc. Why do we try to reduce gay people to sex but not straight people?

    Professional people can be openly gay or openly straight without ever discussing their sex lives at work.

    Also, is it right to expect effeminate men or masculine women to suppress their mannerisms and the way they talk and the way they walk so that they won't be perceived as gay?

    :2cents:

    Of course while attitudes are changing, there are still homophobic administrators, teachers, and parents out there. I've witnessed teachers allow gay students to be bullied. I've been in teachers meetings (when Student Teaching) where the Principal complained about the existence of the gay students.

    But there's also an increasing amount of people who don't care and aren't homophobic as well. Some regions are probably more accepting than others too.

    It just depends on the other co-workers (administrators, teachers) and the overall culture in a particular school and the broader community.
     
  24. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    Mar 26, 2010

    In Louisiana teachers can still be fired for being gay. I don't think anyone would actually do it, but the law is on the books still.
     
  25. 3Sons

    3Sons Enthusiast

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    Mar 26, 2010

    I'd like to believe no one would actually fire someone for being gay. Unfortunately, I cannot.

    There's strong resistance all the time to any legislation prohibiting firing people just for being gay (sexual orientation is rather conspicuously absent from the usual litany of "race, religion, national origin, etc." of many anti-discrimination statutes). This resistance is often strong enough to defeat any movement to provide homosexuals any protection against bigotry.
     
  26. mrachelle87

    mrachelle87 Fanatic

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    I know two teachers that some feel are gay. It is non of my business. The only reason it is discussed is that one teacher is married. The married one's teenager daughter has made comments about it to her friends. Otherwise, I don't think anyone would say anything as long as it stayed out of the classroom.
     
  27. JoshCHT

    JoshCHT Rookie

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    I remember from my School Law and Ethics course that the Supreme Court actually ruled in the 1970s that teachers could be fired for being gay. The Supreme Court even ruled in the 1980s that gays didn't have a right to privacy (although the ruling in 2003 that de-criminalized consensual gay sex probably effectively overturned that).

    Teachers are rarely fired just for being gay today though.

    However, technically people can be legally fired just for being gay as "sexual orientation" has not been added to federal non-discrimination laws.

    A lot of companies choose to include gays in their non-discrimination policies though.

    Congress could have passed ENDA (which would add gays to non-discrimination laws) twice during the Bush administration but he killed it with veto threat. He did the same for the Matthew Shepherd Hate Crimes Act.

    Obama signed the Matthew Shepherd Hate Crime Act into law which extended protections for gays, women, and the disabled. It was the first federal law that recognized gays.

    If the Congress can pass ENDA, Obama will sign it.
     
  28. looneyteachr

    looneyteachr Companion

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    Mar 27, 2010

    I know lots of gay teachers who are terrific teachers - and there really isn't much at all said about their personal lives - alot of straight teachers need to march STRAIGHT out of the profession!!!! hahahahahha
     
  29. msmullenjr

    msmullenjr Devotee

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    I think was extremely well said. The OP never said that he couldn't wait to discuss his sex life. There are so many ways to know that someone is straight or gay without talking about sex. People talk, become friends, socialize, form opinions, and make judgements all the time.
     
  30. Beth2004

    Beth2004 Maven

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    Very well said. You pretty much said what I was thinking while reading this thread, but said it much better than I would have been able to.

    I agree that it probably depends on what the culture is like where you are. In a state like MA where same-sex marriage is legal, it wouldn't be as big of an issue as it would be somewhere in the Bible belt, I'm sure.
     

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