NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ832266
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Mar
Pages: 6
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 6
ISSN: ISSN-0013-8274
"Watch What You Teach": A First-Year Teacher Refuses to Play It Safe
Sieben, Nicole; Wallowitz, Laraine
English Journal, v98 n4 p44-49 Mar 2009
In an effort to ensure that students feel "safe" and "comfortable" in the classrooms, English teachers often avoid controversial topics, particularly issues of race, gender, class, and sexuality. The insidious hidden curriculum or the unintended consequences of what they choose to say or not say--teach or not teach--can have as much or more impact on students than the explicit curriculum (Apple). A component of this hidden curriculum is the failure of teachers to address queer issues in courses and in the school environment. Since no teaching is neutral, creating classrooms free from controversial topics does not situate the teacher as impartial or objective. Nor does it ensure that "all" students feel comfortable. The second author created a course entitled Gender and Sexuality in Education for preservice teachers to see how issues of gender inequality go hand-in-hand with heterosexism and limit students' potential. The course was rewarding: She watched one future teacher go from making homophobic statements in his journal to choosing to investigate the representations of queer youth in young adult literature; and another student who is transitioning (changing from male to female) shared his story and openly discussed the challenges he faces when he begins a teaching career. In this article, the authors focus on what is possible when they offer preservice and inservice teachers courses based on critical pedagogy, and on the difference such courses can make in their classrooms. The example they use is the first author's experience as a first-year teacher. (Contains 1 figure.)
National Council of Teachers of English. 1111 West Kenyon Road, Urbana, IL 61801-1096. Tel: 877-369-6283; Tel: 217-328-3870; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A