Ursa Major Monthly

Ursa Major Monthly

Attendance is nightmare


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by: Jamie Ratliff

For trans students, attendance is an absolute nightmare.

In many cases, a teacher will more than likely call the name on your birth certificate, the name you hate. When asked about the preferred name, this begins the humiliating and invalidating conversation about why you want to be called something other than what is on the roster. Many teachers do not take the time to learn the preferred names and pronouns of trans students. It turns what is supposed to be a respectful learning environment into a toxic one and thus negatively affects the academic performance of transgender children.

This is a norm we need to change and according to glsen.org, 30 percent of LGBT students have missed at least one day of school in the past month because they felt unsafe or uncomfortable.

Here are some steps teachers can take to prevent this:

  • Take time at the beginning of the year to ask every student their preferred name, since you have to learn everyone’s names anyways. This removes the humiliation of an awkward conversation later on in the year.
  • Never, under any circumstances ridicule a student for asking to be called something else. If you do, it will make them feel unsafe around you and all of their classmates. I know many teachers strive to have a safe environment in their classroom.
  • Step in if you see other students berating someone for their chosen name. This is a form of bullying and we know teachers do their best to help prevent this.

If you can put in the effort to take these steps you can drastically improve your relationship with your students trans, or not and their performance in the classroom.

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Attendance is nightmare