Teachers can be powerful allies for students by ensuring that they feel respected and safe at school regardless of their race, religion, socioeconomic status, LGBT identity or other identity, but it isn’t always an easy task, according to the latest issue of the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Teaching Tolerance magazine, released this week.
The issue’s cover story, “Anatomy of an Ally,” looks at how by investigating their own biases, privileges and blind spots, educators can ensure students’ voices are heard at school. The feature also examines how to navigate difficult discussions with fellow teachers and administrators that are sometimes necessary to create schools where all students feel welcome.
“All educators eventually find themselves in a position where they have an opportunity to stand up for a student or colleague,” said Maureen Costello, director of Teaching Tolerance. “Unfortunately, potential allies sometimes remain silent because speaking out can be difficult and intimidating. Committing yourself and preparing to become an ally not only allows you to take a stand against bias, but to be a safe person at school who affirms everyone’s identity.”
Other stories also examine how teachers can be effective allies. “Teaching at the Intersections” explores how students are more than their most visible identities. Intersecting identities, such as race, gender, religion and class, all shape a student’s experiences. Recognizing a student’s various identities – and how they are affected by them – can help educators reach students in the classroom.
“The New Sex Ed” explores a more inclusive model of sex education that is gaining popularity. The new approach helps prevent some students, such as LGBT students, from being excluded and left uninformed. “Being There for Nonbinary Youth” looks at how educators can support transgender students.
The Summer 2016 digital issue also examines a significant milestone in American civil rights history that has been largely left out of classroom lessons. “Browder v. Gayle” looks at the lawsuit that desegregated public transportation 60 years ago. The story includes an online video featuring the son of plaintiff Aurelia Browder.
Teaching Tolerance magazine, published three times a year, is the nation’s leading journal serving educators on diversity issues. It is distributed free of charge to more than 410,000 educators nationwide.