Sunday, March 31, 2013

I'm a Teacher...and I'm Gay

From my blog on

I’m a Teacher … and I’m Gay

I’m a teacher. That is my role and function in life. I have taught young children in music classes; worked as a music therapist with older children who live with emotional, behavioral, and intellectual disabilities. I teach undergraduate college students today, and have taught graduate students in the past at small and large colleges and universities. Today, I teach “Ethics, Religions, and the World” and English composition courses full-time at North Carolina Central University in Durham, NC, a historical black college/university (HBCU).
In total, I’ve taught in higher education for over sixteen years. My reviews from teaching tend to be “high” in terms of overall teaching effectiveness, whether I was teaching young children in music therapy sessions or doctoral students at a major research university. Why the high ratings? Because I use my life story as a resource of how to do things in life — or not do certain things. I use stories of my life-partner, my children, my parents, and other experiences that I’ve garnered over time and place. Like all good educators, I know that teaching works best when we develop a relationship with others, and tell and live our stories.
Recently, one student at the HBCU where I teach asked me what it was like to be a minority, “you know, white, a dad, partnered, gay, and a Presbyterian pastor.” I simply laughed and said that my minority status where I work gave me a slight insight into how my students feel daily in the primarily white world in which we live. I know as a fact that some out and closeted lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning students take my class because I am an out-gay teacher. They’ve said that knowing this makes them feel safe in the classroom to be themselves.

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