November 8, 2010
>An Alaskan Teacher Proves That Sometimes It Just Takes a Safe Space Sticker
Educators and faculty of this generation sometimes find it increasingly difficult to play active, supportive roles in their students’ lives, restricted by convoluted teaching policies and parent backlash that force them to sit idle while their students struggle for support. Luckily for school teacher Christina from rural Alaska, seeing a Safe Space Sticker in the window of a fellow teacher was all the validation she needed that she was in the right place to do more.
“Just seeing that sticker, which is part of GLSEN’s Safe Space Campaign, put a smile on my face and reassured me that I had chosen the right school district to work in,” Christina said in a blog post at Cherry Grrl. “In listening to the many conversations generated by the sticker and the message behind it, I realized that, as teachers, we often feel the need to “teach” students that bullying and harassment are wrong, but we don’t often give students the opportunity to learn about the effects of bullying from each other.”
Christina chose to share Joel Burns’ “It Gets Better” video with her advisory class to begin the dialogue around LGBT bullying and harassment and was overwhelmed by her students’ positive response, as well as the courage she found within herself. Sometimes, something as small as a Safe Space Sticker, seemingly meaningless to most, can prove the only impetus necessary for deeper dialogue and constructive learning. We applaud teachers like Christina who have taken the opportunity to have discussions that can challenge their students, while simultaneously creating safer and inclusive learning environments for all students.
“While I might not be able to change everyone’s minds about bullying and harassment, hopefully I can change the minds, and the hearts, of the students who walk into my classroom every morning. Please create a safe space for everyone so that one day, hopefully someday soon, bullying and harassment will be a thing of the past. That Safe Space sticker now is proudly displayed in my classroom window. Is it in yours as well?”