What's going on here? Aren't those schools sending the wrong message to their students? Not if the school takes the view that sexual preferences and one's life style are a strictly personal matter. As long as a teacher or staff member is qualified and competent, what does his sexuality matter.
We live in a far different world than was the case a generation or two ago. The old customs and mores have forever changed. To be sure being gay generates controversy and division in communities. Look at the serious schism which has occurred in the Anglican Church as a result of the ordination of an openly gay bishop.
Nonetheless, it takes courage for a board of trustees to employ openly gay staff. That's exactly what Phillips Andover did in 2000. The only catch is that the staff must sign an affidavit confirming that their relationship is a committed one. The lesson and example being taught here is profound: that a committed relationship deserves respect and should be upheld. Students who are seeking answers about their own sexuality will feel more inclined to discuss such serious matters without fear of retribution or derision. If a school is to truly champion diversity, then allowing faculty to live on campus in committed relationships is just one more aspect in teaching
Think of all the people you meet in person or electronically every day. Keep email addresses for those colleagues and others whom you consider valuable in some way. Perhaps you admire a colleague for her leadership in a particular area such as laptop computing or Web 2.0. Leave a comment on her blog. Email her. You don't have to write an epistle. A few words of positive support and encouragement are all that is needed. Ask for help. It is impossible for anybody to have all the answers. Your colleagues are a wonderful resource. Keeping your network current allows you to utilize those resources fully.
Connect on ISED-L and ISEN
Blogging is one of the most effective ways for you to stay connected. Blogging is free. It's easy to do. Think of blogging as an electronic journal. Jot down your thoughts. No need to fuss about syntax or grammar. Blogging is free-form. Read other blogs. Leave comments for those bloggers. Create your own blog in a private school community such
A few private schools will go to the bother of securing a Permanent Resident Card for a key staff member such as a head of school. But those instances are few and far between. The situation is very much a 'catch 22' as the American Embassy in your home country will tell you that you need a job before you can apply for a work visa. On the other hand the school will tell you that it needs you to have a green card before it will consider you for employment.
If there is one thing which I have learned over many years of teaching, it is that our students learn by example. They learn not only the lessons which we try to teach them, but also lessons which by their very nature are perhaps more subtle and implied. These are the lessons which children often learn by osmosis or example.
I also know that the lessons learned and the impressions made when a child is young last a life-time. This is one of the biggest responsibilities which we teachers and parents have as adults. Young minds process information quite differently than adult minds do. We have to constantly be aware of that. That doesn't mean that we have to dumb down information and concepts. It just means that we can assume nothing when it comes to how a child's mind will process the information it receives.
The following is pure fiction, of course, but it makes one wonder how things might have turned out if some of these teachers had tried a different approach. Perhaps if they had framed their arguments differently or taken the time to ensure that their students understood what was been taught, there might have been different results.
Setting: High on one of the seven hills of Rome
Aurelius Flagellus Horribilis looked up from his table. The three discipuli in his charge were supposed to be working on their times tables. "What is taking them so long?" Flagellus muttered to himself, and got