Second/Third Grade Teacher and Health Advocate for Cleveland Elementary
Q: In your role as a Health Advocate, what have you done to create a safer climate for LGBTQ youths and their families?
I recently was able to present to my staff, as their Health Advocate, the various books and lesson plans that SFUSD offers for K-5 grades on family diversity. My staff have enjoyed having discussions ranging from love to Proposition 8. My principal has been involved with these lesson plans as well including sitting in to see how the lesson was received by students in the various grades.
I also recently had a chance to present at the LGBTQ professional development a lesson using the book, King and King. This lesson is a different twist to the classic Cinderella fairytale and I shared my discoveries with other SFUSD staff interested in making a change with their students attitudes toward family and love.
Q: What’s a fun activity you’ve done for LGBTQ?
It was fun to have the kids share their “And they lived Happily Ever After…” to the story King and King after they got married.
One student wrote, “They’re mothers are proud that they got married. They went home together and said, mother we got married. Everyone was happy. The kings were happy too. They”re more happier than ever. The end.” –Johnny, 2nd Grade.
A third grader stated, “I think they went to the castle and they had a baby shower. Then a few months later. They had a baby and the prince had to go to the store called, Baby Mart. And he called her because he needed more baby powder and he said, “I think its coming” and then he hung up and fainted.”- Cynthia, 3rd Grade
Q: What were some of the challenges or barriers you’ve encountered along the way?
Being able to teach the children “Gay” is not a word to be laughed at. To teach some of my kids that all families are different and that it is not “gross” to be gay and love some of the same sex.
Also talking about my curriculum with parents that are not wanting their children to learn about gay people in school.
Q: What inspired you to be a mentor, a guiding force?
Honestly, I came out in high school where there was literally no one else who was gay or bi-sexual. No one had ever been out at the school as far as I know. And it would’ve made a huge difference for me just for there to be one person who I could look at.
Q: What’s been the school community reaction to the work that you’ve done?
Some teachers in my grade level have been very open and happy that the school district is finally doing something to help the LGBTQ community. The teachers that are dedicated to Social Justice like Bill Morgan and Isabel Ebert!...have been great co-workers and mentors to me as well in fighting for the safe space and positive community at Cleveland Elementary.