EHS needs to incorporate pronoun usage more directly in classrooms

Elizabeth Yao, staff writer

Current efforts at Edina High School to implement proper pronoun use throughout classrooms are uninspired, to say the least. Though some teachers have started to ask students about their pronouns, there is no standard protocol as to how teachers should approach this. Numerous students find themselves emailing their teachers about their preferred pronouns and/or changing names, which feels unproductive and invalidating to the student. The classroom is a crucial place for adolescent life and should be a place where students feel comfortable and safe, which includes something as fundamental as pronouns. 

While some students and faculty put in the effort to learn someone’s pronouns, several are still unsure of how to approach this. Many teachers and students are seen donning pronoun pins, which is a good reference to look out for. Even though pins are very useful, it’s also crucial to start by introducing one’s pronouns first. Senior Atwood Dudley, a leader of EHS’s Gay-Straight Alliance, says this is the best way to make someone who is gender nonconforming feel comfortable in a conversation. 

Introductions including pronouns in the classroom are lacking as not many teachers go over or even ask questions at the beginning of the year. By incorporating this practice into classrooms, it can be normalized for students, and in turn, make classrooms a more welcoming space. 

“Teachers who are already asking about pronouns could also ask what pronouns the student would want them to say to their parents,” Dudley said. In some instances, students may use different pronouns depending on the environment. Using situational pronouns is something that could be refined by teachers who already have enacted pronoun introductions.

Teachers need to step up and take actions that make students feel more comfortable; this is a critical step Edina Public Schools has to take. While actions have been starting to take place, EPS still has a ways to go before these changes are instituted schoolwide.