Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Supporting Homeless Youth and LGBTQ Youth (511)

The most important thing I can do as an educator to help support LGBTQ students is to create a classroom environment that feels safe and comfortable for all students, regardless of their unique, individual differences. I will demand that students treat each other with respect and explicitly discuss how to treat fellow students with equity, tolerance, acceptance, and respect. I will also discuss what terms or scenarios are unacceptable, and grounds for immediate disciplinary action. I will model how to treat all students, including LGBTQ students, fairly, respecting their differences. Finally, I will teach that differences between us creates a diverse and interesting classroom, opening students to different points of view, opinions, and ideas. Creating a diverse class community of students who value each other’s differences, is something we can celebrate.
Students who are homeless are often embarrassed to reveal their situation to others. Therefore, peers and teachers may be unaware of their struggles. By creating a safe classroom environment, as discussed above, homeless students may feel more comfortable talking about their problems with me or their peers. Students with issues like homelessness need to find people they can trust to talk to and help them. As a teacher, I can reach out to students who appear to be struggling, talking with them in private to try and identify their problems. I want to try to make students to feel comfortable talking candidly with me about their lives outside of class. Finally, for students who I suspect are dealing with homelessness, I plan on reaching out other teachers and counselors who interact with that student regularly to meet and try to develop intervention strategies to help support that student. For instance, although many schools offer reduced-lunch programs for low-income students, they may feel embarrassed to accept it because they are ashamed of their situation and don’t want others to find out. At my site, I know some of the counselors will sometimes buy such students lunch and give it to them privately so they can get food without feeling embarrassed.

LGBT Resources
·       San Diego GLSEN Chapter
·       Hillcrest Youth Center
·       CSUSM Pride Center

Homeless Youth Resources

TPE 8, 9, 15

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