Do you ask students what their preferred gender pronoun is?

Discussion in 'Debate & Marathon Threads Archive' started by Swetha, Sep 25, 2012.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Swetha

    Swetha Rookie

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2012
    Messages:
    20
    Likes Received:
    0

    Sep 25, 2012

    Do you ask students what their preferred gender pronouns are?

    I go to a women's college, but I was wrong when I assumed that everyone would want to be called "she." I was wrong, and met someone yesterday whose preferred gender pronoun was "he." I accidentally called him "she" and felt really bad when I realized. (He didn't seem upset about it at all, so it's not a huge deal, but I will use the correct gender pronoun next time.)

    Also, when I went to an interfaith club meeting, when people were introducing themselves, someone asked everyone what their preferred gender pronouns are.

    So I was wondering, as teachers, have you ever asked a student what his/her preferred gender pronoun is? Do you think it's necessary to ask every student or just the ones that you are unsure of? And is it polite to ask if you are unsure of their preferred pronouns?

    EDIT: sorry, the title should say "gender pronouns are?"
     
  2.  
  3. MikeTeachesMath

    MikeTeachesMath Devotee

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2011
    Messages:
    1,163
    Likes Received:
    3

    Sep 25, 2012

    In my experience, the student will go to you and say something.

    Being "unsure" of someone's gender isn't a good enough reason to ask them. If they still identify as a boy, but you think they dress more like a girl, you could insult and/or embarrass them.

    A good way to get around that awkwardness is to have the whole class fill out an index card with information -- preferred name, gender, contact info, etc.
     
  4. lucybelle

    lucybelle Connoisseur

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2012
    Messages:
    1,841
    Likes Received:
    51

    Sep 25, 2012

    Costa Rica is extremely old fashioned/conservative (I mean lots of families still believe the women belong in the house and the men work) and I think if I asked kids what their preferred gender pronoun was they would just be confused. It would lead to a very interesting, and I think important, discussion that could probably lead to me losing my job. I do say things occasionally that allude to the fact that we need to love all people no matter where they're from, what they look like or who they love. But I would never straight up go into a discussion unless it became an issue (ie: a student came out and was being bullied)
     
  5. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2011
    Messages:
    5,770
    Likes Received:
    1,002

    Sep 25, 2012

    I had a student last year that I believe was biologically female, but everyone referred to him as male. It took some reminding and getting used to on my part (because I didn't want to offend) but I referred to them as male all year long. They were listed as male on the roster as well, so either it was simply a very feminine seeming male or their parents had the student listed as male specifically.

    I believe that that is allowed in California.

    I don't ask, but if I get it wrong, they will usually either tell me or politely correct me, and I will thank them and call them appropriately.
     
  6. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2006
    Messages:
    7,946
    Likes Received:
    3

    Sep 25, 2012

    Never heard of such...
     
  7. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2007
    Messages:
    14,468
    Likes Received:
    2,485

    Sep 25, 2012

    I won't ask because I don't want to embarrass anyone. I will wait for the student to let me know.
     
  8. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2001
    Messages:
    24,956
    Likes Received:
    2,108

    Sep 25, 2012

    I pretty much use student names. Otherwise I call students
    listed as M on my roster 'he' and those listed F on my roster as 'she'.
     
  9. MikeTeachesMath

    MikeTeachesMath Devotee

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2011
    Messages:
    1,163
    Likes Received:
    3

    Sep 25, 2012

    Well you can get away with that since you're early elementary. I'd be incredibly surprised if a 3rd grader developed an alternate gender identity.
     
  10. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2010
    Messages:
    4,330
    Likes Received:
    572

    Sep 25, 2012

    uh no. And the idea is rather ridiculous to me.

    I automatically call students listed as male "he" and those listed as female "she."
     
  11. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2001
    Messages:
    24,956
    Likes Received:
    2,108

    Sep 25, 2012

    This thread is in 'general Ed'..I didn't think there was a specific grade level being asked this question...and by the way, I've also taught in a high school setting and have been an adjunct instructor for a grad class...the matter has never come up in any setting in which I've taught, but if it did, I'd handle it appropriately. . I've never considered myself as 'getting away' with my conduct as a teacher.
     
  12. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2006
    Messages:
    7,946
    Likes Received:
    3

    Sep 25, 2012

    Remember the question I asked about being with someone who was bisexual when you are heterosexual? That boy I was friends with growing up who sparked that question was the only one I've known who was...unsure. He has always been feminine, and growing up he only played with "girl" toys (I hate that idea, but you know what I mean), and as a teen he dressed as girl and went by a feminine form of his name. He's now all male. Teachers still used male pronouns...but that could be because of our local "culture".
     
  13. SCTeachInTX

    SCTeachInTX Fanatic

    Joined:
    May 27, 2009
    Messages:
    2,972
    Likes Received:
    0

    Sep 25, 2012

    No.
     
  14. indigo-angel

    indigo-angel Companion

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2007
    Messages:
    200
    Likes Received:
    0

    Sep 25, 2012

    I've never had the subject come up, and wouldn't address it unless a student brought it to me. I do have the habit of calling students "Miss" and "sir."
     
  15. ku_alum

    ku_alum Aficionado

    Joined:
    May 24, 2008
    Messages:
    3,513
    Likes Received:
    15

    Sep 25, 2012

    I haven't encountered this, yet.

    I would hope to find a way to make it as awkward-free as possible.

    I did have a student, recently, ask me a question that is kind of related ... she was writing about a friend who does not want to be identified by a gender pronoun. My student wondered if calling the person "they" was grammatically correct.

    I said that "they" is plural, so grammatically it would not be okay. BUT, since the person she was writing about would not find "he" or "she" acceptable, that, in this case, "they" would be a possible solution.
     
  16. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2008
    Messages:
    4,212
    Likes Received:
    8

    Sep 25, 2012

    A GLBTQ group spoke to one of my college classes about this topic. They said that you should never refer to your class as "boys and girls," even in elementary, because some of them may not know if they are a boy or a girl.

    I call my class "boys and girls" every day.
     
  17. Reality Check

    Reality Check Habitué

    Joined:
    May 29, 2010
    Messages:
    912
    Likes Received:
    30

    Sep 25, 2012

    :yeahthat:
     
  18. orangetea

    orangetea Connoisseur

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2012
    Messages:
    1,600
    Likes Received:
    0

    Sep 25, 2012

    It's not something that I've really thought about before, to be honest.

    I don't think the idea is ridiculous though, especially if a student comes up to you and tells you that he/she wants to be referred to using a specific gender pronoun.
     
  19. imanashhole

    imanashhole Companion

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2012
    Messages:
    132
    Likes Received:
    1

    Sep 25, 2012

    Yes, we spoke about this in many of my graduate classes. That it further separates the two sexes, creates an even greater acknowledgment that there is a difference between the two. I don't necessarily agree with those sentiments, but we were taught to use gender neutral phrases and I very often address my class as "friends." Ex: "Good morning, friends."
     
  20. MikeTeachesMath

    MikeTeachesMath Devotee

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2011
    Messages:
    1,163
    Likes Received:
    3

    Sep 25, 2012

    I'm failing to see how it's in any way "ridiculous".

    No need to talk down to me. I know what I said.
     
  21. MissFroggy

    MissFroggy Aficionado

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2006
    Messages:
    3,729
    Likes Received:
    0

    Sep 26, 2012

    At the youth center I worked at for at-risk youth we always asked due to the high number of LGBTQ homeless youth. In elementary school I never ask. Once in awhile there is a boy or girl at our school that has a questionable gender orientation but since they are generally under 8 years old, we just let them be. For example, we had a boy that wore princess dresses to school or in the dress up area, and a girl who had a shaved head and wore spiderman t-shirts every day. Over the years I have had maybe 2 or 3 second or third graders who have some gender issues. I had a girl in first and second grade who insisted she was an "alien" because she wasn't a boy or girl. Now she is a happy fifth grader, who is a bit of a Tom boy but seems fine with herself and plays with boys and girls.

    So no, I don't ask my students. If I were in a setting with LGBTQ youth, I would.

    I try to be pretty gender neutral and don't divide kids or call on them by gender.
     
  22. silverspoon65

    silverspoon65 Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2007
    Messages:
    2,403
    Likes Received:
    1

    Sep 26, 2012

    I also would not ask, but I would respect their wishes if they approached me about it. I have 3 transgendered students in our GSA and the topic never came up, but it might be a good one to discuss at our meeting tomorrow.
     
  23. ku_alum

    ku_alum Aficionado

    Joined:
    May 24, 2008
    Messages:
    3,513
    Likes Received:
    15

    Sep 26, 2012

    Ridiculous? Some people are transgendered or questioning their gender identity ... an attitude of "that idea is ridiculous" makes the situation negative. It doesn't have to be a negative situation.
     
  24. Myrisophilist

    Myrisophilist Habitué

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2011
    Messages:
    899
    Likes Received:
    0

    Sep 26, 2012

    I haven't encountered this in the classroom, yet, but I did at my university with friends/acquaintances. I never actually asked; I just picked up on how others were referring to a biological female who uses a male pronoun. I wouldn't ask a student. I would just listen to how his/her peers refer to him/her. :)
     
  25. greendream

    greendream Cohort

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2011
    Messages:
    609
    Likes Received:
    136

    Sep 26, 2012

    No, I would never ask that question. Call me crazy, but I call boys "he" and girls "she." Even if a boy believes he is a girl, it doesn't make him a girl.

    I don't acknowledge sex change operations by switching the pronouns either. No matter how many surgeries you have, a man is never going to truly be a woman, and vice versa.
     
  26. orangetea

    orangetea Connoisseur

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2012
    Messages:
    1,600
    Likes Received:
    0

    Sep 26, 2012

    That's interesting...it also isn't something I've thought about. I teach high school, so I don't use "boys and girls", but I use "ladies and gentlemen."
     
  27. mollydoll

    mollydoll Connoisseur

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2009
    Messages:
    1,640
    Likes Received:
    57

    Sep 26, 2012

    This!

    I'm also pretty gender neutral in my classroom, but would respect the wishes of a student if brought to my attention. I have a friend who goes by ze/zir.

    As teachers, we have a big responsibility to be as inclusive and welcoming as possible to all of our students.
     
  28. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

    Joined:
    May 13, 2004
    Messages:
    5,846
    Likes Received:
    149

    Sep 26, 2012

    No, I've never encountered this situation.
     
  29. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2009
    Messages:
    3,277
    Likes Received:
    466

    Sep 26, 2012

    When I have a question, I ask. I had one student who wanted to be "she" when she was "dressed,: (wearing make-up, nail polish, etc.) and "he" when he wasn't. It all depended on what mood he was in when she woke up in the morning.
     
  30. MikeTeachesMath

    MikeTeachesMath Devotee

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2011
    Messages:
    1,163
    Likes Received:
    3

    Sep 26, 2012

    That's INCREDIBLY disrespectful.
     
  31. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2011
    Messages:
    5,770
    Likes Received:
    1,002

    Sep 26, 2012

    Probably sexist in some way of me, but I refer to everyone as "guys". Like: "Hey guys! Let's get down to work now!"

    If I've ever been in a group of friends, even if they were all female, I'd refer to them all as "guys". I don't think of it in anyway showing preference to a male gender. It's just the term I use to address a large group of people.

    @Greendream: As Mike said, that would be intensely disrespectful of you to say that to someone who views themselves as a different gender. It is a biological wiring of the brain that is responsible for this and is not normally something they chose through any fault of their own.
     
  32. lucybelle

    lucybelle Connoisseur

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2012
    Messages:
    1,841
    Likes Received:
    51

    Sep 26, 2012

    I don't think it's sexist. I just think it's the non-Southern version of "yall". I say "guys" and "you guyses" etc. Even if all female. It's just referring to a group of people.:cool:
     
  33. GemStone

    GemStone Habitué

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2011
    Messages:
    819
    Likes Received:
    166

    Sep 26, 2012

    I work in an elementary school, so it hasn't come up. However, when I filled out my background check application, there were several options under gender (e.g. female, male, female living as a male, male living as a female.) I had to read it twice because I'm used to having only two options.
     
  34. GemStone

    GemStone Habitué

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2011
    Messages:
    819
    Likes Received:
    166

    Sep 26, 2012

    Well, if they're not sure which one they are, they're still one or the other or maybe a mixture of both, so I think "boys and girls" is fine. Not to be flippant, but what else would they be?
     
  35. greendream

    greendream Cohort

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2011
    Messages:
    609
    Likes Received:
    136

    Sep 26, 2012

    There's nothing disrespectful about calling a woman "she" and calling a man "he." Less than 1% of the population is born a hermaphrodite. The rest of us have stark biological differences that make us men or women.

    I go by a person's biological sex, not by their construed gender identity.
     
  36. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2008
    Messages:
    4,212
    Likes Received:
    8

    Sep 26, 2012

    That's what I was thinking! It's not like a person would be a "dog" or "it" or something. And I never divide my class "girls over here and boys over here" or anything.
     
  37. GemStone

    GemStone Habitué

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2011
    Messages:
    819
    Likes Received:
    166

    Sep 26, 2012

    I will respect other people's identified gender, but until they have their surgery, I want them to use their biological bathroom. I have a 13-year-old daughter and we were waiting to have the oil changed in our car and a man dressed as a woman kept leering in a sexual manner at my daughter. Do you think I want him to follow her into the bathroom? After surgery and hormones, he might not have that sex drive or strength that he does as a man in a dress.

    It's a conundrum to me - the balance of safety vs. respect.
     
  38. bison

    bison Habitué

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2012
    Messages:
    874
    Likes Received:
    0

    Sep 26, 2012

    I find it pretty shocking and horrifying that a teacher would ignore a young person's preferred gender identity because of his or her own personal beliefs. It's NOT your decision or judgement to make as an educator. Keep those things at home.

    I can't say I would ask a class of little kiddos beforehand, but if someone had a specific preference, I would never ignore it.
     
  39. greendream

    greendream Cohort

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2011
    Messages:
    609
    Likes Received:
    136

    Sep 26, 2012

    For all of you who want to let people decide their own gender identity, answer this hypothetical scenario for me.

    A boy decides he wants to identify as a girl. Are you willing to:

    1. Let him use the girls' bathroom?
    2. Let him play on girls' sports teams?
    3. Let him apply for women's scholarships when the time comes?

    If your answer to any of these is no, then you don't really believe he is a girl in your heart of hearts. It's easy to switch a pronoun. Not quite so easy to share a bathroom with a "girl" who is anatomically male.
     
  40. MikeTeachesMath

    MikeTeachesMath Devotee

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2011
    Messages:
    1,163
    Likes Received:
    3

    Sep 26, 2012

    Yes, yes, and yes. When it comes to sports, as long as they've started estrogen.
     
  41. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

    Joined:
    May 8, 2008
    Messages:
    8,364
    Likes Received:
    1,500

    Sep 26, 2012

    We've had this discussion before. It's a major disagreement here. The one time I've had a student with a gender identity issue, the parents came to the teachers. They let us know that their 8th grade genetically female student identified male, and that we were to identify this student as male. We happily went along with the parents, and the student, when last I saw him, landed the role of Colonel Pickering in My Fair Lady in the middle school play. He was great!

    In other words, if you have any doubts, seek some guidance from the student's family. It made any doubts of sex vs gender identity a much easier issue. Personally, I go with what the individual student wants, but that's because I've known and worked with transgendered people for decades.
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page

Members Online Now

  1. YoungTeacherGuy,
  2. Mrs. K.,
  3. Ima Teacher,
  4. catnfiddle
Total: 345 (members: 4, guests: 322, robots: 19)
test