ONE TEACHER IN 10 by Kevin Jennings

ONE TEACHER IN 10

Gay and Lesbian Educators Tell Their Stories
edited by

KIRKUS REVIEW

 A book devoted to the experiences of lesbian and gay teachers and the innumerable pressures on them to remain closeted. Homophobic parents, the cruelty of kids, unsupportive administrators, concern about exacerbating cultural differences between oneself and one's students are just a few of the trials described by the 37 teachers who contribute their stories to this book. Others encountered physical threats from students or community members, or political opposition from the religious right. However, all attest to the importance of coming out to students. Gay, bisexual, and straight students benefit from gay role models; a third of teen suicides occur among gays, lesbians, and bisexuals, and many more heterosexual teens grow up violently homophobic--in part because they don't think they know any gay people. Many of the contributors discuss, too, the psychic toll of lying to, or misleading, colleagues and students about one's sexuality. Edited by Jennings (Becoming Visible, not reviewed), executive director of the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Teachers Network (GLSTN), the book should initiate worthwhile dialogue in schools. However, it is marred by repetition--many of the teachers tell the same story, and in similar language. Furthermore, self- lionizing is all too prevalent: Everyone emphasizes his or her own bravery, dedication, and willingness to stand by their convictions; one teacher even compares himself to Martin Luther King Jr. Common therapeutic vocabulary (phrases like ``personal growth'' or ``sharing'' rather than ``saying'' something) is rampant. The resources at the end of the book, however, are excellent; one appendix gives a legal overview of the rights of nonheterosexual teachers, another lists relevant national and regional organizations. A useful introduction to some of the obstacles gay teachers face, but this subject merits much livelier treatment.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1994
ISBN: 1-55583-263-6
Page count: 287pp
Publisher: Alyson
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1st, 1994