Any Gay Teachers?

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    Jul 21, 2009 6:48 AM GMT

    Hey guys!

    So i'm thinking about a major career change. I have my Bachelors degree in Marketing and Int'l Business and i'm not happy with it. I've always loved the idea of being a teacher and i think i'd be pretty damn good at it.

    Now... i'm also a bit apprehensive about this. I know that there are gay teachers out there, but i was wondering how bad the extra struggles were in the schools.

    ...here come the questions...

    are there any teachers on this site? or do any of you know any or have any insight? I hate the idea of having to be in the closet with the people i work with. though i understand that ANY teacher's relationship with their students should leave out personal aspects, what if a student asks or comes to me for guidance or advice with their own struggle to come out? (i'd hate to set the example that it's better to hide who you are) ... and if there ARE any teachers out there, have you ever had any problems with parents about your sexual preference?
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    Jul 21, 2009 8:11 AM GMT
    Hey Davis 510,

    You should certainly become a teacher. There is room for some genuine caring persons to lead the young. Things are changing in the teaching field but do what you feel is comfortable for you. Your sexuality and how you choose to express yourself should not be restrained because you are a teacher. Just know that some parents may have objections but if you have a supportive principal it would really help. Your own professional work ethic should help to alleviate most of the discomfort of the small minded. It is a whole new world out there.

    Personally, I teach adults so it is a bit different. However, in the elementary and middle schools gay teachers in my area tend to down play their sexuality. A kind of don't ask don't tell cat-n-mouse game.

    Hope this helps a bit.

    Melville
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    Jul 21, 2009 10:28 AM GMT
    wow...

    how encouraging! haha!

    i appreciate the information though! honestly! i think i'll definitely check out the sources that you got that information from and see if there's anything else in the way of info or support.

    i really hope that there are some good experiences out there too! it makes me sad that as far as we've come, it's still unacceptable for a gay man to be an educator and role model while remaining true to himself and not hiding the fact that he is gay.

    i think my primary worries were with the parents of the children i'd be teaching but you've definitely brought to my attention that i'll also have to deal with unsupportive coworkers.

    and to melville, thanks a lot! i definitely agree with what you said and i understand that it will (unfortunately) most likely be a don't ask don't tell situation.

    is there ANYONE who has had a GOOD experience? or knows of anyone? i'm getting really discouraged and nervous about jumping into this with everything seemingly against me.
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    Jul 21, 2009 2:10 PM GMT
    As a former HS teacher and now college professor, teaching is a rewarding profession. In terms of how much homophobia there is in teaching, it depends on where you live. Although in alot of places , speaking openly about being gay is frowned upon but not necessarily denounced. I found that most people I worked with knew I was or at least asked around , hinted at a it. Never did I have a problem with people respecting me and treating me like an equal colleague. I even got voted by them as teacher of the year. I found that they considered my skill and devotion to teaching more important.

    I wont say that is true everywhere.

    With this said, there are things you may need to consider. In teaching , you are considered a 'role model' . There have been actual court cases about different things( not necessarily 'gay' issues) where a teacher lost a law suit because the judge defined that law and precedent expected teachers to maintain model behavior for students. The law defines a teaching certificate as a 'privilege' not a 'right'.

    I found that my days of 'bar hopping, night clubbing, etc' were curtailed ( and I found that i was better off actually). You dont know how many students you will find in a bar and believe me it is awkward when a student catches you in a bar with a drink and a cig in the other. Again, the 'role model' thing, quite hypocritical to speak of the dangers of drinking when you are doing it yourself. Just an example.

    I did leave the k-12 institution so I could be more open about my orientation but I have never regretted teaching. If I had to repeat my life over again, I believe I would choose the same path as teacher.

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    Jul 22, 2009 2:39 AM GMT
    It can be tricky. I told a co-worker that I was gay and we got closer. At the same time, another co-worker that is gay had to deal with some shit from the parents. He was a 1st grade teacher, and several of the parents requested that they not have their sons placed in his classroom.

    I had students call me a faggot. I had to catch myself and realize that he is a hormonal middle schooler.

    But teaching can be great. And fun. I agree about the bar-hopping and drinking. I am glad that I taught elementary and middle school. The likelihood of seeing a student was slim to none.

  • Alex2030

    Posts: 1

    Jul 22, 2009 2:48 AM GMT
    Look man. We are always looking for great teachers not just good ones. If you feel you can be great at the job, then go for it.
    Now; If you DO NOT come out at wk you will be fine. Sorry but teachers are held to a much higher "Standard" then the rest of the public. If you have a union join it. Does your state have laws that protect based on sexual orientation? Do your homework!!
    I know it's a lot of crap to put up with but man it is so worth it! You will NEVER have one day like another. Good Luck man and I hope you have the guts to join the profession!!
    Alex2030icon_lol.gif
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    Jul 22, 2009 2:58 AM GMT
    hubba hubba, what i'd have given for a teacher like you in high school...

    er.. wait.. actually :p

    one of our professors was rumored to be gay, and he has been doing a wonderful job of everything so far. I'd considered coming out to him once - i knew even if he wasn't gay he'd be accepting (from things he'd said) but then i thought.. if he was... that would just make things possibly too awkward for him.

    I think a majority of gay students would prefer to know - or even THINK - that they had a handsome gay instructor and look, HE'S made it in life! it would be wonderful icon_smile.gif

    -- as a side note, i've considered following a similiar route - getting my masters in fine arts and teaching at the university level (although that's a bit different than pre-uni on the homophobe scale i think...)

    best of luck no matter what you do!
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    Jul 22, 2009 3:03 AM GMT
    I'm an openly gay lecturer at my university.

    Yesterday one of my students came to me and told me that another one of my students has "the biggest crush" on me.

    I asked who he was of course...

    Sadly, it was some girl. Ah well. Nice to know I still have... something. icon_lol.gif
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    Jul 22, 2009 3:12 AM GMT
    I am a teacher.
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    Jul 22, 2009 3:25 AM GMT
    Check out the book "One Teacher in 10" by Kevin Jennings.
    http://www.amazon.com/One-Teacher-Second-Kevin-Jennings/dp/1555838693/

    I teach foreign languages; keep in mind that there are some gay-dominated fields. My first year teaching, I was in a large foreign language department; of the fifteen FL teachers, ten were women. Of the five guys, three were queer. Depending on where you go, you may have a very open environment. Just make sure to investigate the legal standing in the area. Having seen both public and private schools, I would recommend teaching in a public school with strong union "protection". They tend to be relatively queer-friendly in my experience. Teach in a private school at your own risk: religious schools frequently have the legal right to fire queer teachers at will.
  • MichVBPlayer2...

    Posts: 132

    Jul 22, 2009 3:28 AM GMT
    I am a student, about to start my last year in college to become a teacher (which includes my student teaching). I've also been coaching high school swimming for what will be my 5th year this year. Just this past spring I came out to the other coaches I work with, whom are teachers themselves. It was one of the most positive experiences I have had. Granted, the kids don't know, but i'm sure many of them suspect.

    One of my good friends teaches in the same district (here in Michigan) and is gay as well. He has not faced any discrimination but he also is rather private. The advice he gave me as I'm getting ready to enter is what most of these guys have said. Come in and get a feel for your district, coworkers, and principal. Just like any job, don't go tossing your sexuality around openly. Your private life is just that. If coworkers ask, don't be afraid to be open with them either. Nothing is worse than lying.

    I wish you the best of luck. I can't wait to start working. I've been substitute teaching for the past 2 years and am so excited to have my own classroom. If you are passionate about this, then go for it. Don't let your sexuality keep you back. Role models come in all shapes and backgrounds. Kids need that.
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    Jul 22, 2009 3:49 AM GMT
    Davis,

    I have been a teacher for five years and was a substitute for a couple of years before that.

    I have never hidden my sexuality but I do not address it - as far as I am concerned, my personal life is personal. However, it is certainly not a secret.

    Consider where you live when becoming a teacher. I live in California (excellent protections for all minorities in both the regular legal system and in the Educational Code).

    I have experienced two instances of blatant homophobia in my five years as a teacher, both from parents. One told my principal that "people like me should not be allowed to teach." The student was moved to another classroom (which, unknown to me at the time was illegal - I would not accept such a decision today). In the other instance, a parent pulled their child from he school district and placed them in private education - oh well!

    Overall, it is a rewarding job.

    I recommend teaching to many people. I also recommend becoming involved in your local association. Participating in the local is just as important to your job as the actual teaching.

    (I teach 3rd grade... if you have any questions, ask me here or write me a message. I also encourage you to consider your own personal ambition... if you want to advance often, teaching might not be the right career.)


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    Jul 22, 2009 3:51 AM GMT
    I just started teaching last year, the moment I graduated from college in 2008.

    Teaching was one of the best decisions I've ever made. I've learned that children will continue to enrich your perspective on life, and you with theirs.

    However, my only [read: primary] gripe with the profession is the way in which it adheres to a standardized form of education, in addition to the constant fear of "pink slips"!

    Go for it, no regrets.

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    Jul 22, 2009 3:53 AM GMT
    I will be a teacher in the fall semester. I have come to find out that a lot of guy teachers are gay!!!!!!!!
  • calibro

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    Jul 22, 2009 3:54 AM GMT
    Taught at high school and will now move to the collegiate level this fall. I don't think your orientation is your student's business ever. You're there to teach them. Gay or straight, your love life does not belong in the classroom. Outside of the classroom, that's simply like any other job. Some people have coworkers that will respond well, some don't, but teachers tend to be more liberal and there are often a number of gay folks already on staff in my experience.
  • westguy79

    Posts: 175

    Jul 22, 2009 4:31 AM GMT
    I've been teaching high school for eight years now.

    My personal life is personal and thats the way I keep it. When students ask me about my "girlfriend" I just say that I don't talk about my personal life with them and that I respect their personal lives as well.

    I am thinking about moderating a gay/straight aliance this year. I have been told that many studnets think I am gay, but no one has ever said anything to my face or been disrespectful.

    I love teaching; go for it!
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    Jul 22, 2009 4:45 AM GMT
    My ex was a teacher now is superintendent in school. My close friend is french teacher
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    Jul 22, 2009 4:48 AM GMT
    Hey,

    I'm in the process of doing the same thing! I have a B.A. in Spanish and B.B.A in International Business and looking forward to become a Bilingual Spanish Teacher!
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    Jul 22, 2009 4:49 AM GMT
    Davis, I'm not formally a teacher but it you want to learn some gay perhaps I could show you a few things that work for me.
  • dannyboy1101

    Posts: 977

    Jul 22, 2009 4:52 AM GMT
    I'm a teacher with mixed experiences.
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    Jul 22, 2009 4:59 AM GMT
    I used to lecture, and sexuality was never an issue. But I took the position that when I entered class it was all about the topic at hand, not about me. Who I slept with had nothing to do with me teaching, for example, how to analyse data.

    So unless you plan to turn up to class in your best frock and tiara wiping semen from the corner of your mouth, I don't think it should be a problem.
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    Jul 22, 2009 5:05 AM GMT
    syd_hockey_79 said

    So unless you plan to turn up to class in your best frock and tiara wiping semen from the corner of your mouth, I don't think it should be a problem.


    fortunately, i do not plan to show up wiping semen from the corners of my mouth.

    i was less concerned with the actual issues i'd face in the classroom as i agree that my personal life has no place there anyway. What my concerns and questions were about had more to do with issues with parents' homophobia and problems with coworkers
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    Jul 22, 2009 5:08 AM GMT
    The good news is that it is possible to be a highly effective teacher and still honest with yourself and others. Maybe I am just lucky, but I have had no problems so far.

    My advice would be to just be your self. No need for a big coming out moment with anyone. Treat it matter of fact (no big deal, right?) and most people will go along. Treat is as a big deal (or worse, something you are nervous about) and most people will also take their queues from you.

    In my particular case, when people (teachers or students) asked me if I was married, I said yes. Then they would ask for the name of my wife. I would look at them and say something like “Wife??? Yeah, right!” Most people got the hint. Be warned, every Valentine’s day, my students make me feel like a cheap bastard if they don’t think that I am spending enough money on my husband. ;)
  • Cdnontherun

    Posts: 69

    Jul 22, 2009 5:29 AM GMT
    When I lived in Montreal, it wasn't a problem. However, now that I'm in the States, I do feel that I have to be a little more guarded. I'm a principal and even though my staff knows, it is not mentioned. I have never confirmed or denied the rumors - my secretaries who know have been asked, but they just say they don't know. I have looked at the situation and feel that confirming the information would get in the way of my relationships with the students and their parents. If someone came right out and ask me, I'd probably tell them, but I don't think the confirmed knowledge is necessary. Of course, each school and district will have different challenges. In short go for the teaching part and then decide how open you can be.
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    Jul 22, 2009 5:42 AM GMT
    westguy79 saidMy personal life is personal and thats the way I keep it. When students ask me about my "girlfriend" I just say that I don't talk about my personal life with them and that I respect their personal lives as well.
    I am thinking about moderating a gay/straight aliance this year. I have been told that many studnets think I am gay, but no one has ever said anything to my face or been disrespectful.


    OK, just my two cents here. Disclaimer: those decisions are always personal, you know best what works for you, yada, yada, yada...

    Having said that, check what other teachers do when asked about their personal stuff. I bet almost all of them just answer honestly: they talk about their hobbies, their husband/wife, sons/daughters, etc. Students are not stupid. By answering the way you do, you are letting them know that there is something not quite right with being gay. Otherwise, why hide it?

    Students want to connect with you. They see more of you than they see some family members. They say mothers always know. Well, students know, too. If they have not been disrespectul to you, it is not because they don't know that you are gay. It is because they respect YOU. Maybe you should respect them enough to give them the benefit of the doubt?

    Good for you on moderating a GSA!!!