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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Reach Your Students With Poetry (No, Really!)

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April is National Poetry Month, and unfortunately, poetry has a bit of an optics problem.

It’s hard! It’s confusing! It’s boring! I don’t get it!

Sound familiar?

Fear not, there are actually super-engaging ways to dazzle your students with the wonders of poetry — and reach even your most struggling or reluctant students. So this year, be bold. Branch out from the tried and true poetry classics and inspire your students with these engaging forms of poetry that will spark curiosity for all types of learners.

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Tch Talks 25: Sarah Kay and Project VOICE

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Can teachers use spoken word poetry as a tool for literacy, empowerment, engagement, education, and community building across content areas?

Poet, performer, and educator Sarah Kay says absolutely, YES! Sarah is a founder and co-director of Project VOICE, an organization that uses spoken word poetry to entertain, educate, and inspire. Through Project VOICE, Sarah is dedicated to promoting empowerment, improving literacy, and encouraging empathy and creative collaboration in classrooms and communities around the world.

On this episode of Tch Talks, Sarah discusses the origin story of Project VOICE, her own introduction to spoken word poetry, and her work as a poet, an educator, and a bestselling author. Whether speaking from her heart or from her head, Sarah believes that spoken word poetry can be an important educational tool that will have a lasting positive impact on your students’ motivation, creativity, self-esteem, agency, and their desire to share their own stories and listen to the stories of others. Listen in to find out more.

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How YA Novels Help Teachers Build Empathy

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We walk through our classroom doors and want to relate to our students. We want to understand their challenges, thought processes, motivations, and fears.

But how do we develop empathy for our students who may struggle with challenges we never experienced?

How can we understand their reactions, fears, and priorities if their childhood or adolescence is so incredibly different from our own or the one we’re creating for our children?

Good teachers understand that practicing and growing empathy makes us great teachers.

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