Tales From the Great Reset: I am not a groomer. Why inclusive school curriculum needs to cover gender
Pat, an Orlando 3rd grade public school educator, opposes Governor DeSantis’ new “don’t say gay bill,” resents being labeled a groomer, and explains why an inclusive curriculum needs to cover gender.
I love kids. I have always loved kids. My love for kids led me to become a 3rd-grade educator at an Orlando area public school. I spent weekdays with my kids in the classroom and my weekends and holidays hanging out at Disney World with kids from all over the world. Life was good - until the COVID pandemic hit and our puritanical NAZI Governor DeSantis started doing his Great Reset in education.
If being forced to risk my life was not bad enough, far-right parents started meddling with what educators like me were teaching my kids in my classroom. And to pander to these far-right parents, DeSantis put restrictions on allowable teaching materials.
That, along with the “don’t say gay” bill and the accusation that educators like me are groomers is getting to be the final straw. My inclusive curriculum is not sexualizing my kids in my classroom. And why does the far-right always assume a predatory or criminally inclined adult is the one initiating sexual activities with children?
Next thing you know, the far-right will be afraid of teachers like me standing too close to my kids in my classroom!
As a public school educator, let me give you a rundown of the inclusive curriculum my kids are learning in my classroom and why I need to be free to talk about gender:
I hope the far-right can agree that kids need to learn proper English grammar and writing.
However, pronouns are one area of writing my kids struggle with because the English language contains approximately 100+ traditional pronouns. In addition and as of 2022, there are 112 genders - all of which come with their own unique sets of pronouns. And this figure does not include the many prefixes and suffixes for various types of attractions – each of which may also have unique pronoun sets. How the f*ck does Governor DeSantis expect me to teach pronouns without talking about gender?
In order to avoid confusing my kids and to prepare them for higher education, I start my pronoun lessons by teaching the following pronoun sets now found on university admissions applications:
Co, co, cos, cos, coself
En, en, ens. Ens, enself
Ey, em, eir, eirs, emself
He, him, his, his, himself
She, her, her, hers, herself
They, them, their, theirs, themself
Xie, hir, hir, hirs, hirself
Yo, yo, yos, yos, yoself
Ze, zir, zir, zirs, zirself
Ve, vis, ver, ver, verself
Since pronouns are like gender and sexuality (fluid and can change from day to day), the most effective way to teach my kids is to allow them to pick and wear new pronoun pins every day. However, I am disappointed when most of my kids insist on using the same pronouns every day as I encourage them to mix it up a little.
Math is a difficult subject for my kids to grasp given its inherently racist and sexist nature while the need to come up with one correct answer can frustrate young minds. But I try to make math as easy as possible with my inclusive math problems. For example:
Little Johnny attends an elementary school with three restrooms for students. The first restroom is for students who identify as little boys and has two stalls and three urinals. The second restroom is for students who identify as little girls and has five stalls. The third restroom is gender-neutral and can be used by students who identify as little boys or little girls. It counts as one stall and also contains a single urinal. Little Johnny identifies as a girl and needs to use a school restroom to do a #1. How many options does Little Johnny have to do his #1?
Since this inclusive math problem may have more than one correct answer, my kids don’t have their feelings hurt if they come up with the wrong answer. Sometimes though, I do need to bring in supplemental math materials from outside sources where there are clear-cut right and wrong answers.
However and if Governor Desantis has his way, I won’t be able to do that or teach my kids inclusive math problems. It means I will have a classroom full of frustrated kids who are either sad or angry!
I don’t do “drag queen story hours” in my classroom - a figment of far-right imagination.
I teach and read carefully selected works of great literature with coming-of-age storylines that ideally touch on diversity or cross-cultural topics for my kids to appreciate. For example:
L’Amant is a semi-autobiographical cross-cultural coming-of-age story set in exotic French Indochina that delves into race and class issues. A poor
underageyoung French student (who dreams of being a writer) meets a wealthy and much olderChinese gentleman on the ferry to Saigon. Every day after class, she meets with the Chinese gentleman for private tutoring until they sadly must part ways. The book is considered a French classic and was an academy award-nominated movie for its steamybeautiful cinematography.
Call Me by Your Name is another cross-cultural coming-of-age book and movie set in Italy. At first, the
underageyoung Jewish Italo-French son of an archaeology professor and his father’s older Jewish American graduate assistant appear to have nothing in common. They soon discover they have something in common that does not involve their shared religion. They start spending time sleepingbonding together. But then the summer ends, and sadly, they must part ways.
The Graduate is a book and classic movie that prepares my kids for the challenges they may face when they eventually leave school. It’s the story of a young graduate suffering an identity crisis and his budding relationship with
a cougarolder lifelong family friend Mrs. Robinson and her daughter. Together, they help him find his path in life.
My kids think history is a boring subject they cannot relate to. However, our country was founded in 1619 when Jamestown was established as an all-male slave-owning colony where the single young men paired off to form their own households. That means I can always find something interesting to teach my kids about. In particular, my kids enjoy learning facts about American Presidents that make them more relatable and human. For example:
When Abraham Lincoln was a member of the Illinois House of Representatives, he slept in the same bed with another male politician whom he lived with. In fact, historical sources show that Lincoln slept in the same bed with at least 11 boys and men during his youth and adulthood. My kids are always surprised to learn how sleeping in the same bed as other men or with boys was perfectly natural and normal back in the 19th century.
Lincoln’s predecessor was our 15th President, James Buchanan. He was our only President to be a lifelong bachelor. However, Buchanan was not lonely because he had a very close and personal bond with a certain male Vice President whom he lived with for many years. Again, my kids are surprised to hear of such living arrangements by past presidents and vice presidents.
If Governor DeSantis has his way, I won’t be able to teach such history, and my kids will be bored to death in my classroom!
The third grade is when we are required to teach kids about the wonders of the ocean as fish and other sea life have so much to teach young children.
My kids are always amazed to learn how male seahorses give birth to baby seahorses. And how lonely starfish and certain types of sharks and rays can reproduce without a mommy or daddy present. As with pronouns, how the f*ck does my puritanical NAZI Governor DeSantis expect me to teach my kids about such sea life without mentioning gender?
My kids are also shocked and sadden when they learn that if their mommies or daddies keep driving SUVs, there will be no more seahorses, starfish, sharks, or rays left in the ocean. I suppose Governor DeSantis does not want me to talk about that either?
With all of the above in mind, do I sound like a classroom groomer grooming kids like the far-right and puritanical NAZI Governor DeSantis claims? What difference does it make if my inclusive curriculum includes some gender concepts? Does our puritanical NAZI Governor think I am sexualizing my kids and preying upon them with my inclusive curriculum?
I have a very blunt message for Governor DeSantis and any parent who supports him:
You need to stay the f*ck out of my classroom, stay the f*ck away from my inclusive curriculum, and stay the f*ck away from my kids!
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* Updated as of June 6, 2023.
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