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One Teacher in Ten in the New Millennium:…

One Teacher in Ten in the New Millennium: LGBT Educators Speak Out About…

by Kevin Jennings

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This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Kevin Jennings, the editor of this series, came out to his school in 1988 - which was unheard of at that time- and became a leading voice for change in education and LGBTQ+ activism. But he didn’t know any other LGBT educators. There was no way for educators, gay and straight alike, to come together, exchange ideas, and to make schools better and safer places for their students. A few years later, the One Teacher in Ten series was born.

One Teacher in Ten is organized by Jennings, who is the founder of GLSEN - the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network. This organization empowers LGBTQ+ educators and helps them to create safe places for their LGBTQ+ students and colleagues. The series, again now in its third edition, compliments GLSEN’s mission by sharing stories of teachers’ decision to come out (or not) and how that decision has impacted their lives and careers.

The most current edition of One Teacher in Ten features stories from teachers, retired educators, and those that have risen in the ranks to administrators and headmasters. Almost all of the teachers are out, but there are still a few that use pseudonyms for fear of getting fired. Brett Bigham and Duran Renkema are teachers that have been fighting in the limelight and contributed stories of media exposure, censorship, smear campaigns, and legal battles. Bigham, who was named Oregon’s 2014 Teacher of the Year (and one of the first out teachers to receive the honor), had to have speeches edited and approved by administration. He couldn’t even verbally say he was gay when out in public. Renkema, who hails from Europe, recounts what happened when he brought a lawsuit to his Christian school. Other educators tell their stories of being better role models for their students; many of the educators didn’t feel that they could solicit advice to their students if they weren’t honest with who they really were. Other educators tell of the problems they still face on a day to day basis. This includes still feeling as it isn’t safe to be gay in their school to facing more feelings of “otherness” due to they being a gay teacher of color.

The stories were unique as the writers that wrote them. Each writer brought something different to the proverbial table. While there are tales of heartbreak and disappointment, there are also stories full of hope and promise for the LGBTQ+ educator community. In “Finding a Way and Making One: Coming Out Brown, Feminist, and Queer”, the contributor wanted to instill the ideals of feminism into her students but found out that she could not. But when she accepted an opening as a more progressive and experimental school, she felt like she was home. In “My Story of Self-Identity”, an educator from China talks about how there was a natural progression to him coming to terms with his sexuality. He explains his upbringing and culture, and at the end expresses that he’s happy (even though the first man he fell in love with rejected him). In all the different narratives, I felt that there was a single, resonating idea: if there’s no self-acceptance of yourself, you will not be truly happy in all aspects of life.

I would recommend this book for larger public library collections and any school environments where professional collections are present. The variety of stories and experiences will be not only helpful to education majors and experienced teachers, but those thinking about making the transition to teaching and would like to know about the current educator environment from primary sources. It’s a relatively quick read, but nonetheless a very important one for educators. ( )
  starsandscribbles | Jan 10, 2016 |
One Teacher in Ten in the New Millennium: LGBT Educators Speak Out About What's Gotten Better . . . and What Hasn't is the second update from the original written in 1994. What is really impressive is that because it is updated approximately every ten years we have the opportunity to see how much we have progressed and what still needs to change. It is uplifting to hear the stories of so many brave LGBT teachers and how they, each in their own way, made change in their schools and communities. I think we need stories like this to show that we can win and can educate others when we take chances and have support. My significant reservation about the book is that there are barely any stories from the public school system, especially from large, urban districts with large, diverse populations. I am involved in the effort to stop the privatization of public schools and would like to see how coming out in public schools versus private schools versus charter schools differ and how they are similar. Other than that, a worthy and inspiring read.

Thank you to Edelweiss for allowing me to review this book for an honest opinion. ( )
  Karen59 | Nov 23, 2015 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This is a fascinating book on the messy, difficult, complicated world of being LGBT and a teacher. It covers different countries and time periods. The biggest lesson here is the the importance of accepting people for who they are, not outside factors. The shocking part of this book is the extreme differences teachers face are not necessarily getting better and the radically different reactions different communities in one country have people who are different. ( )
  FCClibraryoshkosh | Oct 12, 2015 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I received this book as part of the LibraryThing Early Reviewer Program. This is the third book in what has become a series, as every ten years they make a new collection of essays to hear about the current status of GLBT educators. This edition worked extra hard to be more diverse in its population of contributors, and indeed had people of color and trans people, and of locations across the US as well as some from other countries. There was a mix of private, charter, and public schools, though I would have liked to see more plain old public schools. Overall, as a gay educator myself I did find people in here I could identify with, but I also wished for more depth. With some of the stories I couldn't quite tell how they were chosen, although in some cases, I think it is just good for the public to know the types of private battles going on behind the scenes for some teachers, and how the need to keep those battles private can hurt people. This book also well illustrates the challenges GLBT teachers face in trying to be supportive of queer kids without being accused of "recruiting". There were incredible stories of bravery, where teachers pushed themselves out of the closet because they knew they would save lives by doing it, and there were heartbreaking stories of teachers losing friends and jobs by coming out. It was nice to see how many teachers were pleasantly surprised to find out they were accepted, and to realize that they no longer had to live under the stress and burden of being in the closet. We'll probably want another of these books in ten years, and we do have a ways to go, but we also have come a long way. ( )
  JanesList | Sep 5, 2015 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
A great assemblage of the recollections and experiences of educators from all across the spectrum of sexual diversity, including intersectional aspects of racial diversity, age, and a variety of types of educational institutions (public, private, rural, urban, etc.). Clustered into groups showing the best of what progress has been made in the decades since the original edition came out, to more nuanced stories of continuing conflict, to hard stories of where the struggle continues. As another reviewer noted, the most affecting and poignant stories are those of teacher/student interaction, and those give me hope when I read this.
  wademlee | Aug 30, 2015 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0807055867, Paperback)

Twenty completely new stories of negotiating the triumphs and challenges of being an LGBT educator in the twenty-first century
For more than twenty years, the One Teacher in Ten series has served as an invaluable source of strength and inspiration for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender educators. This all-new edition brings together stories from across America—and around the world—resulting in a rich tapestry of varied experiences. From a teacher who feels he must remain closeted in the comparative safety of New York City public schools to teachers who are out in places as far afield as South Africa and China, the teachers and school administrators in One Teacher in Ten in the New Millennium prove that LGBT educators are as diverse and complex as humanity itself. Voices largely absent from the first two editions—including transgender people, people of color, teachers working in rural districts, and educators from outside the United States—feature prominently in this new collection, providing a fuller and deeper understanding of the triumphs and challenges of being an LGBT teacher today.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 06 Jul 2015 19:25:28 -0400)

"Perhaps no profession is as challenging for LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) people than teaching. Working under constant suspicion arising from the long-held stereotype of LGBT people as pedophiles who are "after your kids," teachers who are LGBT face enormous challenges. The third edition of One Teacher in Ten allows LGBT educators to speak in their own voices about their experience of being LGBT in schools. Following on two volumes of completely original stories published in 1994 and 2004, the all-new third edition of One Teacher in Ten brings together stories from around America - and around the world - of teachers negotiating the challenge of being LGBT in the classroom. The result is a rich tapestry of varied experiences. From "Mr. G" who feels he must remain closeted in the comparative safety of New York City Public Schools to teachers who are out in places as far afield as South Africa and China, the educators in One Teacher in Ten span the full gamut of experiences, proving that LGBT teachers are as diverse and complex as humanity itself. Voices largely absent from the first two editions - including transgender people, people of color, and educators from outside the US - feature prominently in the new collection, giving readers a richer and deeper understanding of the diverse experiences of LGBT educators"--… (more)

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