Celebrating teachers who affirm our LGBTQ+ youth is so important. On April 15, 2023, I had the pleasure of attending the Human Rights Campaign's Time to Thrive conference. While there, I attended multiple workshops that were put on by the National Education Association and learned about the invaluable training HRC's Welcoming Schools program provide. Let me tell you, celebrating our teachers is needed more now than ever.
Affirming Teachers Can Save Lives
During the Mountain States Conference, the HRC shared new data yet to be published on LGBTQ+ youth in schools. My big takeaway is that a single teacher can impact the lives of many students. Those who affirm, love, and embrace our transgender, non-binary, and gender-diverse children, should be celebrated. Consider this, "LGBTQ youth who report having at least one accepting adult were 40% less likely to report a suicide attempt in the past year." In their 2019 report, the Trevor Project reported that "the positive impact of acceptance from at least one adult on past year suicide attempt was statistically significant (OR=.60, p<.001)." If your child has an affirming teacher in their lives, I encourage you to celebrate them during Teacher Appreciation Week, May 8-12, 2023.
Celebrating Teachers Who Affirm
I recognize that time is a valuable commodity in our busy parenting lives, so let's keep this simple:
Write a thank you card thanking them for being a soft place for your child to land.
Buy a lottery ticket and send in a card saying, "We have won the lottery with a teacher that affirms."
Who doesn't like donuts? Send in a donut (or a dozen) with a card that says, "We donut know what we would do without affirming teachers."
Purchase a pack of Crayola Kindness Crayons and send it with a tag that says, "We are eternally grateful for your kindness and affirmation towards our child."
Don't Forget Support Staff
Affirming administration, psychologists, paraeducators, and janitors are the backbone of the school. We have had fantastic school nurses, counselors, and support staff in our nearly eight years on this journey. I cannot keep up with all of the days of celebration. So, I choose to celebrate school staff during this time. Having your child write a simple thank you or draw a picture can brighten their day.
No matter how you choose to do it, just do it. Celebrate teachers who affirm. What are you doing? Share your ideas in the comments.