5 Ways Teachers Can Support Trans Kids

In our evolving world, awareness of transgender and gender diverse students is becoming increasingly important. To be fully inclusive, many educators are seeking guidance on how to best support and understand the experiences of transgender students in their classrooms. Let’s dive into five key ways that teachers can support trans kids and create a safer, more accepting learning environment for all.

1. Honor preferred names and pronouns

One essential aspect of supporting trans students is respecting their preferred names and pronouns. Many transgender individuals decide to change their given name as part of their transition, and using this new name is a vital step toward affirming their identity. If a student shares their preferred name with you, make sure it is the one you use, even if it differs from what is on record. Likewise, use the student’s chosen pronouns (he/him/his, she/her/hers, they/them/theirs, etc.) when addressing them in class or discussing them with others.

2. Promote inclusivity through language and materials

Inclusive language can make a significant difference in how trans kids feel about themselves at school. To be gender-neutral in communication, use terms like ‘students’ instead of ‘boys and girls’ or ‘ladies and gentlemen.’ Simultaneously, make an effort to incorporate diverse representation by using LGBTQ-inclusive books, images, videos, and stories in your lessons.

3. Create a safe space

A safe space should welcome every student without discrimination or fear of harassment. This concept must also include emotional safety; transgender students often experience stigma even in seemingly supportive environments. To create a safe atmosphere for all students:

– Make it clear that homophobic or transphobic language or actions will not be tolerated.

– Encourage open conversations about difference and diversity while maintaining respect for individual privacy.

– Encourage allyship among non-transgender students by fostering empathy and understanding.

4. Encourage school-wide education and training

Advocate for ongoing education and professional development on transgender issues for teachers, administrators, and counselors. This training should include understanding legal rights surrounding gender identity, addressing discrimination, health care concerns, and best practices for supporting trans students.

5. Offer private, all-gender restroom options

It’s important to make sure trans kids feel safe and comfortable accessing restrooms. Sometimes using a gender-specific bathroom can cause anxiety or potential conflict. Advocate for the implementation of private, all-gender restrooms for anyone needing the extra privacy. This inclusive approach will help trans kids, as well as other students who may require a more private space.

Supporting and understanding trans kids takes empathy, awareness, and genuine efforts to create an inclusive environment that fosters growth and learning. Implementing these five strategies in your classroom is a significant step towards building stronger relationships with your transgender students and allowing them to thrive academically and emotionally.

Why School Dress Codes Need to Pass the Diversity Test


The concept of a dress code in schools has been a topic of debate for years. While some argue that it instills discipline and promotes equality among students, others claim that it stifles individuality and can be discriminatory. A growing concern is whether or not school dress codes pass the diversity test, ensuring that they provide equal treatment for all students regardless of race, gender, religion, or cultural background. In this article, we will discuss why embracing diversity and inclusiveness is equally important as introducing a school dress code policy.

Respecting Cultural Differences

Every culture has its unique way of expressing its identity through clothing. For instance, some Muslim women wear hijab as an extension of their faith while African communities have their intricate hairstyles representing their heritage. When schools enforce rigid dress codes, they might end up oppressing the cultural expressions of various student groups which can potentially lead to feelings of alienation and marginalization. An inclusive dress code should create room for differences and accommodate the diverse beliefs held by each community within the school.

Gender Neutrality and Equality

A typical school dress code differentiates between male and female students by requiring them to wear uniforms that reflect traditional gender roles. It reinforces stereotypes like girls in skirts and boys in trousers. This not only limits self-expression but also poses challenges to students who may not feel comfortable conforming to these norms.

Taking into consideration the rising awareness about non-binary identities and gender fluidity, an inclusive dress code must move beyond binary guidelines and allow every student to choose their outfits based on personal preference alongside specific guidelines on decency without compromising their self-identity.

Empowering Students Through Self-Expression

One’s appearance plays a significant role in establishing a sense of identity, especially among adolescents navigating the formative years of their lives. Schools need to understand that creativity in dressing is an outlet through which youth express themselves, and doing so can strengthen their self-confidence. A flexible dress code should emphasize respect, tolerance, and open-mindedness as it better prepares them for the culturally rich society which lies beyond the school walls.

Preventing Discrimination and Profiling

Uniform policies may sometimes play to subjective biases leading to discriminatory profiling. For example, students with tattoos, piercings, or non-traditional hairstyles are often perceived negatively or unruly due to rigid dress codes. An inclusive dress code should address these misunderstandings by focusing on the overarching goal of avoiding discrimination and fostering appreciation for individuality.


A truly inclusive school dress code must strike an appropriate balance between ensuring decency, promoting equality, and celebrating diversity. It is crucial to involve all stakeholders in shaping the policy, considering the needs of different racial, ethnic, cultural, and gender groups. By doing so, schools can foster an environment where everyone feels valued and respected while also adequately preparing their students for today’s multicultural world.

Kids Don’t Just Need Diverse Books, They Need Diverse Authors

Children relish the opportunity to discover the world around them. One way they accomplish this is by immersing themselves in books that reveal different cultures, perspectives, and voices – in other words, diverse books. But what is equally important, and often overlooked, is the need for diverse authors in children’s literature.

Diverse books provide an authentic representation of various cultures, experiences, and backgrounds, which leads to a more enriching reading experience. Children are then better equipped to understand and empathize with people from different walks of life. However, having books written by diverse authors adds another dimension to this representation that is essential to fostering a more inclusive perspective.

Firstly, diverse authors can bring their unique experiences and insights to the table. This allows them to create more accurate depictions of their respective cultures and characters based on their personal experiences. When authors from different backgrounds write stories that reflect their own lives and upbringings, they impart a deeper understanding of diversity onto the reader.

Additionally, featuring diverse authors behind the scenes actively challenges preconceived stereotypes and biases. Encountering different voices in literature demonstrates that creativity isn’t exclusive or monopolized by any specific demographic. By showcasing a variety of writing styles and perspectives, children will better appreciate the importance of inclusivity in literature.

Creating opportunities for diverse authors also fights against underrepresentation in publishing. It addresses an industry-wide issue wherein minority writers struggle to secure publishing deals or have limited access to wider audiences. By supporting diversification in authorship, we empower these authors to share their stories and climb the ranks of literary success.

Moreover, seeing successful diverse authors will inspire future generations of writers from all walks of life. Representation not only matters within the stories themselves but also amongst those who create them. Witnessing accomplished writers from various backgrounds can motivate children from all walks of life to pursue writing careers and believe in their capacity to achieve their dreams.

Finally, the collaboration between diverse authors and readers strengthens connections and opens up opportunities for learning. Discussions surrounding the stories penned by these authors can bring about meaningful conversations on different cultures, encouraging curiosity and open-mindedness.

In conclusion, just as it is essential to provide children with diverse books to explore various experiences and expand their understanding, it is equally important that these stories be written by diverse authors. By advocating for more inclusivity in children’s literature, both in terms of content and the writers behind the words, we can foster an environment where different perspectives are celebrated, appreciated, and most importantly, heard.

If Teaching About Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa Is Your Plan for Inclusion, You’re Doing It Wrong

In an increasingly diverse and interconnected world, it’s no surprise that teachers are striving to create more inclusive classrooms. One common approach involves discussing various holidays – such as Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa – to bring awareness and understanding to different cultures. While introducing these holidays may seem like a step towards inclusion, it isn’t enough. Reducing cultural inclusivity to simply discussing holidays is a shallow approach and misses the broader scope of what true inclusion really looks like.

The Problem with Focusing on Holidays

Although including holidays in lesson plans can add some cultural dimension to the curriculum, it runs the risk of trivializing complex beliefs and customs. By only scratching the surface of these rich traditions, teachers may inadvertently perpetuate stereotypes and misconceptions.

Moreover, by presenting these cultures through a solely holiday-centric lens, educators might implicitly suggest that the students’ experiences and identities revolve around holiday celebrations alone. This narrow view ignores the broader context of their daily lives and diminishes the diversity present in our communities.

Towards Comprehensive Inclusion

To make genuine progress towards inclusivity in education, it’s crucial to move beyond the standard approach of teaching about holidays. Here are some helpful strategies on how to create a truly inclusive environment:

1. Integrating cultural nuances throughout the curriculum: Infuse daily lessons with content that showcases diverse backgrounds not only during holidays but also in other subjects like literature, history, science, or mathematics.

2. Encouraging representation beyond the classroom walls: Diversify school libraries by offering books involving characters and authors from various backgrounds. Foster supportive partnerships with families and communities by hosting cultural events or inviting guest speakers that represent different ethnicities and traditions.

3. Implementing culturally responsive teaching practices: Get to know your students as individuals with their unique identities. Be aware of potential cultural biases in instructional materials and adapt them as needed. Recognize individual students’ learning needs and styles while encouraging the development of their cultural competency skills.

4. Encouraging open dialogue: Foster discussions about diversity, equity, and inclusion in a safe and nurturing environment. Allow space for students to express their opinions, beliefs, and experiences. Actively listen and validate their voices to empower them as members of the classroom community.

5. Building empathy and understanding: Teach students the importance of respecting differences and embracing diversity as an integral part of a thriving community. Empower them with tools to appreciate one another’s perspectives while standing up against discrimination or prejudice.


Embracing cultural diversity requires educators to go beyond just discussing holidays like Christmas, Hanukkah, or Kwanzaa. A truly inclusive education acknowledges students’ unique backgrounds in daily lessons, fosters open dialogue, encourages empathy, and promotes equitable representation both inside and outside the classroom. By actively working towards comprehensive inclusion, we can create a more supportive environment where all individuals – regardless of race, religion, or cultural background – have the opportunity to thrive.

These Women of Color Belong on Your High School Reading List


The world of literature is vast and full of talent. However, it is crucial to recognize and support authors from diverse backgrounds in order to create an environment that not only educates but also empowers young minds. The following is a list of accomplished women of color whose work should be included in your high school reading list.

1. Zora Neale Hurston

Zora Neale Hurston was a pioneer in African-American literature. Her masterpiece, “Their Eyes Were Watching God,” tells the story of Janie Crawford, a young woman navigating love, independence, and self-discovery in the racially-divided American South.

2. Amy Tan

Amy Tan’s novel “The Joy Luck Club” explores the intricate relationships between Chinese-American mothers and their daughters, delving into themes of assimilation, immigration, identity and generational misunderstandings.

3. Maya Angelou

A celebrated poet and civil rights activist, Maya Angelou’s work touches on themes of race, identity, trauma and resilience. “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,” her groundbreaking autobiography, speaks to her experiences growing up as a Black girl in the Jim Crow-era South.

4. Sandra Cisneros

Sandra Cisneros’ “The House on Mango Street” is a coming-of-age story centered around Esperanza Cordero, a Latina girl growing up in Chicago. The book features interconnected vignettes highlighting themes of class, gender roles, racism, and dreams deferred.

5. Jhumpa Lahiri

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, Jhumpa Lahiri’s “Interpreter of Maladies” is a collection of short stories featuring Indian characters and their immersion into new cultures while dealing with issues of loneliness, isolation and longing for home.

6. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s “Americanah” discusses themes of race, culture, and identity as protagonist Ifemelu moves from Nigeria to the United States to attend university. As Ifemelu navigates a new world, she examines issues of immigration, love, and the concept of belonging in both her homeland and her new community.

7. Maxine Hong Kingston

“The Woman Warrior” by Maxine Hong Kingston blends autobiography and Chinese folklore to explore themes of ethnicity, gender and family legacy. Powerful and poetic, this book is a must-read for those seeking to understand the experiences of Asian-American women.

8. Toni Morrison

A central figure in American literature, Toni Morrison is best known for her novels exploring the experiences of African Americans. Her novel “Beloved,” based on a true story, examines the haunting legacy of slavery through a mother’s devastating choice.


In order to foster an environment that promotes open-mindedness and empathy, it is essential for students to read the works of authors from varied backgrounds. By including these talented women of color on your high school reading list, you create a more inclusive and diverse literary experience for young minds.

Should sex ed include fertility information?

Exactly what sort of safe sex should be taught to our young students is always a topic of debate. As we recently saw in Texas, abstinence-only programs don’t seem to work and can even lead to higher rates of sexually transmitted diseases. Telling kids too much about how to have sex bothers many parents, educators and lawmakers, though. It seems that the jury is still out on the best way to empower students with sex-ed knowledge. One topic that is never debated, or even discussed, as it relates to sex education is fertility itself and that needs to change, according to some experts.

In a story that ran in The Guardian, reproductive specialist Dr. Geeta Nargund says that schools are spending so much time trying to prevent pregnancy that young people are missing out on important knowledge about their own fertility. In her own practice Nargund counsels many women who did not have the facts about their own ability to conceive children until it was too late for it to happen naturally.

That, argues Nargund, is grounded in the misconception that women who wait to have children until they are financially and emotionally ready can do so later in life. The real science is much starker and fertility drops dramatically after women hit their 30s, and continues to fall with each passing year.

I think Nargund has a valid point. If we want students to have all the facts about sex, then let’s not just present one side of the story. Women who want to wait to have children should certainly be able to make that choice but should have all of the information in front of them.

What’s your stance on sex education as it relates to fertility?

How Fan Fiction Can Transform Student Writing (and Reduce Your Grading)

Fan fiction has existed for many years, with fans creating stories based on their favorite TV shows, movies, and books. Fan fiction writers use their creative input to make their writing different from the original story, often to improve their work.

Because fan fiction is based on other people’s work, it often borrows elements from the original story. However, fan fiction writers often weave these elements into their stories, adding their unique voice and spin. This can make for a very different experience for the reader, which is often more interesting and engaging.

Because fan fiction writers are often dedicated to their work, they are often very critical of it. However, they want to make sure that their stories are as good as they can be, and they often take their feedback into account when writing.

Fan fiction can be a fun and creative tool for writers. It can help to improve your writing skills, and it can also help to reduce your grading. So be sure to try fanfiction – you may be surprised at how much you enjoy it!

Culturally Responsive Curriculum: Everything You Need to Know

This involves supporting and helping minority ethnic groups develop individual identities that tie in with their individual experiences and their experiences as part of a minority ethnic group. This is often achieved by including their culture in the curriculum so that fair and inclusive teaching and learning of history can occur. America, being a multiethnic country, is home to numerous ethnicities who have built the country together, and they all deserve a balanced teaching of history.

Culture is often thought of in terms of ethnicity, beliefs, customs, and norms found in human societies that get passed down from one generation to the next. However, culture could also be looked at from the perspective of gender, race, sexuality, knowledge, class, abilities, laws, arts, habits, or social behaviors. 

In a classroom, cultural differences could explain why a student doesn’t question teachers and persons of authority or isn’t comfortable making eye contact with them. There are many more such behavioral examples displayed by students that reflect their cultural differences. A culturally responsive curriculum recognizes and appreciates such diversity and the significance of students’ cultural references in learning.

Culturally responsive teaching is a pedagogy that tries to help teachers recognize and appreciate the cultural nuances, which might have otherwise adversely affected the student-teacher relationship and eventually made student achievement suffer.

With a culturally responsive curriculum, teachers can empower all students to thrive in class. It’s a research-based approach to teaching that links students’ languages, cultures, and experiences with school lessons. Such connections help students build and hone higher-level academic skills.

Culturally responsive teaching considers multiculturalism an asset. With culturally responsive instructions, teachers can help students understand diverse perspectives and build empathy. They can also help raise students’ awareness about cultural and racial stereotypes, prejudices, racism, and other forms of intolerance, injustice, and oppression, and even challenge their attitudes and biases. 

By challenging students’ preconceived notions and mediating power imbalances in classrooms based on culture, race, class, and ethnicity, a culturally responsive curriculum can pave the way for academic equity and social justice.

Studies have found that a culturally responsive curriculum inspires students to learn. The essentials of this inspirational framework are that such a curriculum respects diversity; keeps a wide range of students engaged; creates an inclusive, safe, and respectful learning environment for all; promotes equitable learning; and derives teaching practices from across cultures and disciplines. Thus, such a curriculum makes learning more effective and relevant for students.

What is the State of Native American Education?

The state of Native American education has been a topic of concern for many years. The education system in America has long been criticized for its lack of inclusivity and cultural sensitivity to Native American people. Despite the many efforts to improve the education system for Native American students, there is still a long way to go before the educational gap between Native Americans and their non-Native peers is closed.

Native American students face unique challenges in the education system. Many come from rural and low-income communities, where resources for education are limited. There is a shortage of qualified teachers, and those who are available may not understand Native American culture or the unique educational needs of Native American students. Additionally, many Native American students have experienced historical trauma and intergenerational trauma, which may impact their ability to learn and succeed in school.

One major issue in Native American education is the achievement gap between Native American students and their non-Native peers. According to a report from the National Indian Child Welfare Association, only 72% of Native American students graduate from high school, compared to 86% of all US high school students. Additionally, Native American students are less likely to attend college and complete their degrees.

There are several initiatives aimed at improving Native American education. For example, Native American language revitalization programs, which seek to preserve and promote Native languages in schools, have shown promise. These programs can help Native American students feel more connected to their culture and community and improve their academic performance.

Another important approach to improving Native American education is through collaboration between Native American communities and educational institutions. This includes involving Native American parents, students, and educators in decision-making processes and curriculum development. By centering Native American cultures and including them in the education system, educators can improve academic outcomes and strengthen cultural ties.

It is important to address the state of Native American education as it is crucial to the well-being and success of Native American students. Improving access to education and resources is a crucial step in bridging the educational gap between Native Americans and their non-Native peers. Additionally, taking a culturally sensitive approach to education can help Native American students feel more connected to their culture, community, and values, and improve their chances for success. 

Stereotype Threat: Everything You Need to Know

Stereotype threat refers to the harmful impact which stereotypes can have on students when the stereotypes about their origins or groups (e.g., black Americans, lower socio-economic status groups) are repeatedly brought to the forefront. As such, educators must pay great importance to ensure students aren’t exposed to negative stereotypical projections via digital media, e.g., the propagation of the idea that women aren’t excellent at math or science.

Hence, educators are tasked with the job of sieving through the projected images, videos, and writings to tease out those materials that may be, even subtly, promoting stereotypes.

Stereotype threat is considered to be situation-specific. People only experience it when they’re in a setting where negative stereotypes about their group are salient to them. For instance, a woman may experience a stereotype threat in a computer science or math class but won’t be expected to face it in a humanities class. It’s important to note that although stereotype threats are often studied with regard to academic achievement, they can also happen in other domains.

Educators can follow these strategies to mitigate stereotype threats in their classrooms.

Creating a welcoming environment free from bias: Educators set the tone within their classrooms, and students act the way that educators allow them to. Creating an environment free from bias and free from judgment is the responsibility of every educator. Educators should also work toward learning about their students’ backgrounds, so they understand students’ social and cultural norms.

Being diverse in what they teach and read: Educators’ classroom materials should be a mirror for their students in which they can observe themselves represented. Educators also need to avoid the potential pitfall of teaching about the same historical people from different cultures when there’s a wealth of diverse, historical people of color who they can choose to highlight. They need to push their thinking in this area. Even if their classrooms aren’t diverse, they should expose the students to multiple people and perspectives because it teaches them diversity and empathy.

Honoring multiple perspectives in the classrooms: Educators need to nurture an environment where students can hear from others who might not hold the same views as them, and educators must let them feel safe in doing so. This can include encouraging student questions or providing students with the space to share ideas.

Having courageous conversations: When educators reflect on their biases and create safe spaces in their classrooms, they create opportunities for courageous conversations with their students. They’re likely to have enlightening, perspective-shifting moments.