It is a sign of just how much progress has been made in the last decades that most millennials will remember having LGBTQ friends at school. Of course, no one is pretending that we have completely solved the problems of prejudice and discrimination, but the experience of being an LGBTQ teenager 20 years ago was markedly different from the experience 20 years prior to that. Being an LGBTQ teenager today isn’t easy, but children are much more likely to be accepted by their peers.
Some lucky LGBTQ kids will be taught by an inspiring teacher who also happens to be LGBTQ. More of us have been taught by gay teachers than we realize, largely because many teachers aren’t comfortable sharing their sexuality with their students. For LGBTQ kids who are harboring their own ambitions of one day becoming a teacher, having a source of inspiration to look up to can be a very powerful motivator.
No matter how old you are or what your background is, LGBTQ individuals who are hoping to become teachers will need to be prepared for the unique challenges that they will face on top of the usual demands that are placed on teachers. These shouldn’t deter you from pursuing the career of your dreams, but they are worth being aware of. If you manage to qualify as a teacher, you could be a source of inspiration for the next generation.
In order to qualify as a teacher in the US, you will need to earn a bachelor’s degree. It doesn’t matter what subject your bachelor’s is in, it just needs to be from a reputable university. Once you have your bachelor’s degree, you will have to complete a teaching course from an accredited university. For example, this course from the University of Redlands, available through the University of Redlands Online, is typical of the kind of training you will need to complete.
LGBTQ students should not face any additional hurdles in obtaining the necessary academic qualifications, the experience should be much like attending any other college course. However, note that, as yet, sexual orientation is not a federally protected characteristic. Make sure that you know what the laws are in your state and what your corresponding rights are.
Across the United States, attitudes towards the LGBTQ community are rapidly changing. They don’t always change in the direction that we would like, but most of the country is headed in the right direction.
The new syllabus for the curriculum of Massachusetts is an excellent example of the kind of progress that is being made. Students in Mass will now learn about LGBTQ history and health as part of their standard curriculum.
If you plan on becoming a teacher, it will be up to you whether you reveal anything about your sexuality to students and staff. You should never feel like you have to reveal personal information that you aren’t comfortable sharing. Some LGBTQ teachers want to be open with their students in the hope of providing inspiration for any of their students who might be coming to terms with their own sexuality. Ultimately, only you can make this decision.