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Proper pronouns
Old 04-05-2019, 05:28 AM
 
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I always feel so bad when I donít use the proper pronoun for a student. Twice now Iíve called a girl a boy because I honestly could not tell from the clothing or stature. Middle school is so tough. I had short hair for a hot minute before I started to develop and the same thing happened to me once. I still remember.


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Old 04-05-2019, 02:38 PM
 
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I hear you. Fortunately haven't committed the gaffe yet, but have had close calls and I thought about that very issue today while walking amongst students at the high school. I passed a child of uncertain gender and was thinking wouldn't it be great if I called all the students the same thing so I didn't have to worry about gender? But what would that be? "Hey you" works, but might put some folks off. And you would have to be consistent and use it all the time, let's say you addressed every student as "student" because if you only did it sometimes it would be obvious you are unsure of gender. Outside of school I was at a restaurant that had 2 single restrooms in back, one labeled "men", the other "women". As I approached the rooms I saw 2 people waiting. As a man exited the "mens" room I almost motioned the waiting person to go ahead of me... until I realized the very masculine looking person was a woman, waiting for the ladies room to open up. Close call.
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Old 04-05-2019, 04:25 PM
 
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Another thing is when the kid has a name that can be masculine or feminine, or you just can't tell. For middle school I'll either avoid the pronoun or check on the roll sheet for the gender. If I've already sent the roll sheet to the office I practice avoidance. However, with the little ones like 1st graders I have called boys "she, her" because some have long, beautiful hair but could pass as boys or girls! The students are happy to correct me when I make a mistake!
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Old 04-06-2019, 07:53 AM
 
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I sub the littles (K-2nd) and often have that problem!

Before class, I look over the attendance sheet and write a list of their first names on the board. This helps me familiarize myself with their names and also track behavior during class. When I do this, I try to get the lay of the land: how to pronounce names, who's male or female, etc. That helps. But there is awesome ethnic diversity in my district (which I love), and there are so many exotic names that it can be hard enough to pronounce them right, let alone figure out the gender before meeting the student.

No matter how hard I try, I almost always end up confusing a he with a she or vice versa. Some little boys have long hair and "pretty" faces, so I get it wrong. But as someone else mentioned, little ones are never offended. They just giggle at my mistake and correct me. They are very forgiving. One reason why I enjoy teaching the littles!

Last edited by luv2teach2017; 04-06-2019 at 09:28 PM..
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Old 04-07-2019, 04:40 AM
 
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Yep, and it's going to get worse before it gets better. I attended a workshop of "adult professionals" recently. The workshop leader asked us each to declare our preferred pronouns/gender identity... so it ultimately didn't matter what anybody looked like. I was tempted to ask her (?!) how we were supposed to keep track.

The kids usually do giggle when we get it wrong. I've never seen a kid traumatized by an error. Some adults seem quite determined to make sure we'll never get it right.


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Old 04-07-2019, 07:01 AM
 
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Sigh...I think we will eventually discard he and she and just use "it." That's a perfectly good gender neutral pronoun. We already use it for animals, so why not people?
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I just say....
Old 04-08-2019, 06:04 AM
 
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ďThis studentĒ. Or that student if there is any question at all in my mind as to the studentís gender.
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Old 04-09-2019, 05:58 AM
 
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����

So this just happened...

I was chatting with some students about upcoming prom plans. They were telling me who their dates are, dinner plans, etc.


Me to student with the shaved/long haircut popular with girls lately who speaks in clearly feminine voice: "Do you know who you're going with?"

Student: "Yeah, Ryder. He's sitting over there."

Me: "Do you have your dress yet?"

Student: "Um. I'm the guy."

Me: (Dies of a heart attack)

Me: (Stuggles to gracefully get foot out of mouth and immediately begin babbling some nonsense about dinner options and after-prom ideas in hopes that it will cancel out previous conversation

Me: (Vows to never speak to a student ever again.)
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Old 04-09-2019, 09:47 AM
 
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I did this earlier this year. He was a middle school student who had an unchanged voice (despite being quite tall) and exactly the same haircut that my daughter had a few years ago. I just apologized and explained why I made the mistake and, as far as I can tell, he was fine. I am evidently not the only person who has ever made that mistake. I was kind of mad at myself, though, because I certainly am aware that hair is not a reliable indicator of gender. Aforementioned daughter was once asked to leave the women's room at a public venue because someone thought she was a boy. Her 10-year-old son has very long hair and is frequently mistaken for a girl. He wears it long because he's part Native but his coloring is fair enough that people don't aways realize that. For what it's worth, he only gets mad about it when someone who knows full well he's a boy gives him a hard time about looking like a girl. When it's an honest mistake, he doesn't get bent out of shape. It is interesting to note, though, that people who think he's a girl actually do treat him quite differently than people who know he's a boy.
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