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Reflection: GLSEN MA Educator Retreat

Image of Chris/tine LangSome of us working for greater visibility and acceptance within schools for LGBTQ students and staff do so within a bubble. Even if we have a diverse or accepting campus, and even if our schools have diversity committees, it's not often that we struggle alongside a group of educators who have similar perspectives, contexts and/or passions. As rewarding as the work ultimately is, from time to time it can be a little lonely.

Having the opportunity to meet and learn alongside other educators from across the state, many of them on nearby campuses, working on similar initiatives, making similar cases for or against school-wide initiatives, is critical in the work we do. Not only because it establishes professional networks, but also because it's important that, while we strive to provide our students with authentic connections to other students, we gift ourselves similar connections with other like-minded adults.

At the GLSEN Massachusetts Educator Retreat, educators from all over New England shared workshop spaces where we dialogued about and explored topics such as “The Challenges and Benefits of Coming Out and Being Out in Your School or Work Setting,” “Striving for Social Justice through Understanding Diversity,” “Jump-Starting and Strengthening your GSA,” and “Supporting Transgender Youth in Schools.” In each of these workshops accessible leaders engaged our minds in dialogue that deepened our understanding of ourselves, the students we seek to engage and the world around us. The conversations ignited within the workshops continued outside over coffee and sandwiches, while friendships that began during the activities played in the super interactive workshops offered like, “NBS: Names, Beliefs and Stories,” and “Identity, Stereotypes, and Oppression,” carry on into the hilarious game of trivia over a GLSEN Massachusetts sponsored dinner Saturday evening.

The friendships established at retreats like the one held in Provincetown MA by the GLSEN Massachusetts chapter provide depth to our lives, and, therefore, depth to the work we do and the way in which we do the work. It's not always about doing more work (although there is always more to do), sometimes it's just about doing the work differently. The super interactive workshops provided for us the foundation to expand our minds, and the friendships provide us the energy.

So, to all who participated, by filling a seat or leading a workshop, Thank you.

About the Retreat: The GLSEN Massachusetts Educator Retreat is a three-day event, which takes place annually in Provincetown, Massachusetts. The retreat is designed to support LGBTQ educators and allies working in pre-K through 12 schools.

Article by: Chris/tine Lang, GLSEN Massachusetts

Register and learn more about the retreat.