LGBTQ Teachers: Opening “The Closet” Door May Close The Door On Your Career

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Do you remember in It’s A Wonderful Life when Zuzu Bailey says, “Every time a bell rings, an angel gets his wings?”

I have my own similar saying, but it’s a more modern version.

Every time I hear the sound of a tweet, a gay teacher loses their job.

Last month I heard a lot of tweets. Last month wasn’t a good month to be an LGBTQ teacher. In Texas, a beloved teacher was put on leave for showing a picture of herself together with her wife. Tweet.

In Illinois, another teacher was under fire for not being in the closet. Tweet.


That last tweet was the Chicago Tribune tweeting at me because I’m the go-to source when it comes to LGBTQ teachers. Not because I was Oregon’s Teacher of the Year, but because I gave a speech, where I discussed a recent heart attack and said:

“Twelve months ago my partner may have been a widower, but instead I’m here as one of the first openly gay Teachers of the Year showing LGBTQ youth they have a future.”

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Five Strategies to Add to Your Coaching Toolbox

Tch Deep Dives: Coaching

Whether you’re teaching or coaching, it’s easy to get into a rut. But these five videos are here to help! Clocking in at just five minutes each, these videos will expand your ideas about what coaching can be and push you to try new strategies.

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Ensuring Equity for Every Student

Getting Better Together

I had never heard of the “achievement gap” until the summer after my first year of teaching. It was after reading Teaching Reading to Black Adolescent Males: Closing the Achievement Gap, that I became aware of the gap in educational achievement between white and minority students.

This stubborn gap has persisted throughout my career. I’ve managed to pick off a few percentage points at my different schools, but the gap largely remains the same. And this gap is only one of many gaps. There is the opportunity gap (as it relates to higher level course selection and access), the wealth gap, and more.

It seems that the world of education has somewhat shifted away from the effects (gaps) to the causes (inequity). To that end, the rest of my life in education will be committed to ensuring equity for every student.
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