Teaching Profession

A Surprise Classroom Lesson in Acceptance

By Liana Loewus — June 20, 2013 1 min read

This one from reddit: A first-year teacher in Canada who recently came out as gay to his students describes how his “tough” class offered their acceptance in a way that moved him to tears.

The teacher explained that he shows a YouTube video everyday at the end of the year, often selected by students. His pain-in-the-neck student “Harry” asked if he could play one and, having not had a chance to preview it, the teacher very hesitantly (and trustingly) said yes. The student put on a video of “Same Love,” a song about the trials of growing up gay and fighting hatred, by Seattle-based rapper Macklemore and Ryan Lewis.

The teacher writes that the remarkable part was how the students reacted:

And there's Harry, proudly watching along with the rest of the class as the artist stands up for those gay kids who struggle, and the video shows a difficult, lonely life culminating in a fabulous wedding. Harry. My "tough kid."
The video finishes, the kids applaud, and I thank him, and he says to me, "I told you you'd like it."
And then his loud, rude friend Mark says: "That was for you, Mr. K."
The whole class applauded again—for me this time—and then I cried. I cried the proudest tears I have ever shed.

If you’re at all questioning whether the kids were actually having a laugh at the teacher’s expense, take a moment to watch the video (below). Hard to question the sincerity of that.

The teacher ends the post with his own display of acceptance: “Harry and Mark ... they might tick off every teacher they ever have, but today they gave this teacher a moment he’ll never forget.”

A version of this news article first appeared in the Teaching Now blog.