Tuesday, January 28, 2020

20 Conversations for 2020 Challenge -- Conversation #3 Allyship

Be a Better Ally Podcast
Conversation #3: How are you bringing people together to talk about allyship and see it as a critical component of your community?

Although I think my school community has came a long way in terms of building allyship, I believe there is still a lot of work to be done. We do have teachers and students who identify as members of the LGBTQ community, but I'm don't feel like we are at the level that Vica Steel talked about in her interview on the Be a Better Ally Podcast, "A welcoming school doesn't wait for the transgender person to say 'Hey we need lessons on gender identity.' A welcoming school is already doing those lessons." That feels like a level that we are still striving to obtain to me. There is forward progress and I want to celebrate that, but I don't want the community to feel like, "Hey, we have done enough now." We have worked a lot on being good friends and empathy in the First Program and Middle School House programs as well as understanding why bullying is wrong. The High School House program has worked on tolerance and empathy, but specifically teaching lessons that are about gender identity, isn't being done. There is a line that teachers and administrators feel they shouldn't cross with our students and parents. Korea is a very conservative society, but most of our families have lived aboard; and yet, the feeling continues to be, "let's not teach that directly." It makes me wonder if we aren't doing the lessons because of our sympathy to our families traditional views, or are we not having those lessons because it is easier for us to not do them for ourselves. I feel like this is an area where we should continue to grow. We are heading into an accreditation cycle with WASC, so possibly it is time to ask these questions within our community as part of our self-study. I'm the person is charge of facilitating the accreditation process, so I have the ability to move the ball toward the goal posts.

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