Edited By sj Miller and Nelson M. Rodriguez
Chapter Three: Reconciling the Personal and Professional: Coming Out From the Classroom Closet
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Reconciling the Personal and Professional: Coming Out From the Classroom Closet
RYAN BURNS AND JANET D. JOHNSON
In this chapter, we (Ryan, a high school English teacher, and Janet, a teacher educator) dialogue about Ryan’s experiences as a gay man teaching for social justice. Ryan was in Janet’s first class of teacher candidates at Rhode Island College and has taught since 2007. Seeking personal and professional safety based on his sexual and political identities, Ryan has taught in four different school districts. Janet has continued her advocacy work for teachers and students at RIC, inviting Ryan and other teachers to participate in various research and professional development endeavors.
Over the years, our roles have shifted from professor (Janet) and student (Ryan) to college supervisor and cooperating teacher, to colleagues, and, finally, to friends. In this piece, we explore two critical incidents that illustrate the complexities Ryan has faced during his teaching journey and how conversations with Janet helped theorize those experiences. We chose the term “LGBT” instead of queer because Ryan identifies as gay. We are aware that this is a political as well as personal choice, but we believe it is important to stay true to his language.
WHO WE ARE
I (Ryan) am a White gay male who grew up with my sister in a single-mother household in an urban ring community. While I was not out at...
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