Sunday, April 17, 2011

Day of Silence

So as some of you hopefully know Friday was the Day of Silence, a day when students/ participants remain silent throughout the day to bring awareness to LBGT harassment in school. Their silence reflects the silence of those who are/ have been harassed without aid or prevention. So sadly, I have my service learning Fridays so I couldn't do it but I thought it’d be a great idea to talk to my kids about it and do what we learned, make the “gay stuff” visible. My class is a first grade ESL class, and I asked my teacher while they had breakfast if I could quickly just talk about the importance of the day and if she did a family unit of some kind to see if possibly LBGT stuff was possibly ever brought up. She explained that the school mandates they stay on track with the scheduled lesson plans and that if the principal came in and she wasn’t teaching she could get in trouble. She then followed up say with a sort of confused look on her face, “Besides this is first grade, they’re all so young.”
I find multiple things wrong with this. First off, its great to stick to the lesson plan, however, from my experience they stick more to the time slots than the actual plans. There seems to be little to no time for certain things and if the kids are stuck on something, say in math, if the bell rings they automatically have to switch to the next subject. There is organization, just lots seems to get lost. 
Secondarily, I know most these children are five through seven, but if they aren’t exposed to LBGT stuff early, they aren’t going to be able to see it as natural as easy. This exactly reflect everything we talked about in class where the teachers think gay means sex. Its so saddening to me that I didn’t get a chance to say anything, and personally I was disappointed in myself for not asking what my teacher meant when she said they were too young for these matters. Just really upsetting that this is how it is. Any thoughts? 


  1. I certainly agree that there are issues with classroom time in elementary school. (That's why I'm not teaching those grades.) Also, you are, I feel, correct in saying that these children need to be exposed to these matters in real life soon. What I mean by real life is, these children probably hear about these matters through the media or if they have older siblings, etc. They most likely have no concept of what being gay means or any of the "LGBT stuff". I would be a bit disappointed, just like you, but you have to remember that this is not your classroom and clearly the teacher seems to be uncomfortable with the topic. For you to try and speak up about this issue on your own is a great thing and it is unfortunate that you can't start sharing these views with your SL students.

  2. Though I agree with you and your cause. I see where the teacher is coming from, not the fact that the kids are too young, but maybe the day of silence didnt fit into her lesson plan or time table for the day... its not what i would have done but i respect her decision