Teachers Add Pronouns to Start of the Year Introductions


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LGBT movement of young people wearing sweaters with their gender pronouns – she, he, them

Anna Porter, Managing Editor

Many of the teachers at Crofton High School have included the sharing of pronouns in their beginning of the year introductions, and teachers in the English department even share their pronouns on the doors to their classrooms. This is a big step at our school towards inclusivity, respect, and creating a safe environment for all students. Being misgendered has a negative effect on students and how they view themselves; therefore it is very important that people respect others’ pronouns. When teachers make an effort to give students a way to share their pronouns, it makes a big difference. 

Many students in Crofton’s Gender Sexuality Alliance (GSA) said they were happy with the fact that teachers were trying to be more aware of gender identity. Junior Caleb Williams shared that he feels like “it promotes inclusivity and it makes students comfortable. You cannot tell from the get-go what someone’s pronouns are so I think it’s a good thing that teachers are asking.” He also added that “some students are still iffy on the whole pronouns thing but I feel like incorporating stuff like this is helping.”

Junior Reggie Fairchild shared that it can be a good thing and a bad thing. “Depending on the student they might not be ready to be out yet and they might say the pronouns they don’t want to use because they are not out yet.” Lots of others shared that same opinion. Williams added that “Some students are not out yet and so exposing their pronouns in front of the whole class could be anxiety-inducing.” 

A solution to solve the issue of students not feeling comfortable with sharing their pronouns in front of the class is that the teachers could have a small form for students to fill out to gauge their comfort level in regards to sharing their pronouns. Freshman Emjay said “I think they should start out with a private form to see where people’s comfort level is and then do it in front of the class.” 

It could also be helpful for the teachers to ask when and where it is OK for the teacher to refer to the student the way they want to be referred to. If someone does not share their pronouns or seems uncomfortable when asked their pronouns, it could come off as being ignorant, disrespectful, or uneducated when in reality they are just not comfortable sharing that part of themselves with their class.

Freshman Ren Gonzalez also brought up a good point about other situations in the classroom where teachers could be more respectful of students and create a more inclusive environment. “I think they have stopped most of this, but there are still sometimes they will put you into different groups like girls go here and boys go here.” That is an issue for students who do not identify as a girl or a boy because it puts them into a category that they don’t identify with. 

It also enforces cisnormativity, which is the assumption that the majority of people identify with their sex assigned at birth. It pushes the false idea that being cisgender is “normal.”. 

Another change teachers can make in the classroom to be more inclusive is how they refer to students. Fairchild shared that when teachers, “don’t say ladies and gentlemen anymore, they say class, they are trying to be a lot more respectful.” 

Despite some of the issues, students felt as though it should be mandatory for teachers to ask in some form about people’s pronouns. Caleb Williams believes this because teachers asking people to share their pronouns “helps normalize it more and it makes it seem like this is a thing you can do and it shows that it’s not a complicated thing.”

Freshman Isabelle Steen said that “teachers that are asking pronouns and showing that they are a safe space really makes a difference because you feel comfortable in their classroom and it makes it easier to learn when you are comfortable.” All students want a safe space in which to learn and this recent step toward inclusivity is making Crofton High School a place where students can have that opportunity.