Schools are increasingly including and supporting transgender students, which could be daunting/overwhelming. Schools in a transformational mode are a unique resource. Increasingly transgender students across ages are asking their families and communities to support them in living their lives and fulfilling their potential. Having the support of a school system is critical since a school plays a central role in their lives. A negative experience at school would hinder a transgender student’s academic progress and professional growth. It can also have an impact on their long-term mental health.
Here are some ways to make a classroom more trans-friendly and inclusive:
If, as a teacher, you are not familiar with something or are not sure about a specific identity, it would be appropriate to do some research on the same. Do not ask questions that would make a transgender student uncomfortable. A teacher’s job also involves creating a positive environment for learning.
Modify your language
You can transform several things about your communication style to ensure your transgender student feels comfortable. Ensure you use gender-neutral terminologies. Please don’t make the girls and boys sit separately in a classroom, instead make them sit randomly.
At the beginning of the academic year, teachers must conduct a “Get To Know the Class” sessions to find out students’ preferences, hobbies, etc. Also, ask the students for their preferred name and the pronouns they would be using.
Initiate measures against bullying
Transgender students often have to face bullying. School management, teachers, and staff have to make it clear that bullying would not be accepted. Prevent any discriminatory behavior before it happens.
Support your students
It is easy to say that you shall accept and treat all the students equally. However, teachers have to be active and not passive about it. They have to convert words into action. School management must modify its policies. The entire school system must speak out openly in support of students since they may not be in a position to speak up for themselves.
No matter how positively the school system feels toward transgender and the issues surrounding them, teachers must receive some training to engage with them effectively.
Do not make any assumptions regarding students’ gender identities. It is vital to understand that transgender students’ status has an impact on their educational experiences.
Create awareness within the school and rectify your colleagues if they make a mistake, particularly if they misgender an individual.