Gender Neutral Greetings

Hey you guys!!!!!!!!!!!

Oh, I’m sorry, didn’t mean to offend everyone here who isn’t a guy. Maybe it’s a 90’s kid thing, or a MIdwestern thing, but I mostly remember teachers yelling, ‘hey guys!’ as a synonym for ‘hey everyone’.

Apparently, this is very offensive thing these days and I did catch myself doing it while teaching last week so I was thrilled when this colorful illustration filled with suggestions for gender-neutral terms to address a group popped up on my facebook.

Call me crazy, but I would rather be called a ‘guy’ than a ‘dawg’ or a ‘nibling’.

In fact, let’s look at a few of these, shall we?

Party People– very non-inclusive for all of the INFJ”s and other Meyer’s Briggs types that identity as introverts

I apologize for this. It’s the first image that showed up after I put ‘offended introvert’ in the google search.

Future Leaders of the World– sheesh, no pressure

First search result when I put in, ‘Angry Little Kids in Suits’- from a Bloomingdales’ catalogue. Ready to lead the free capitalistic consumer world market!

Gum Drops– Very offensive as a diabetic. My blood sugar does not appreciate being referred to as a thing that would kill me.

First search result for ‘offended gum drops’. They don’t look very offended, do they? They are hiding it well.

I’m joking, I hope obviously. Although most of these seem like silly substitutes for just calling them what they are, ‘kids’ or ‘students’ or, if they’re there to dance, ‘dancers’. Being that whacky teacher that calls students ‘rainbow sparkle piglets’ will work for some individuals and groups, and not command a sense of respect from others.

I was trying to think of some ballet-based groups from classical repertoire…

Peasants? Fairies? Princes and Princesses? Slaves? Ok, these are not PC options.

I remember Laura Alonso, daughter of famous ballerina Alicia Alonso, used to call the dance majors at Interlochen Arts Academy ‘miserable rodents’. She would heavily roll the R on rodents. She was very fun, one of my most memorable and loved teachers.

Here’s my teacher trick:

Sometimes, what I like to do is purposefully call them the wrong thing. If I’m working with 3rd graders, I call them my kindergarteners or my high school seniors so that they can shout at me and correct me. It shows them that I know who they are, that I have a sense of fun, and that I allow for them to have voice and agency if they disagree with something.

“I identify as QUIET!”

I’m preparing them for their future twitter battles. Don’t tell me that I’m not a great teacher, right guys?

What do you call your groups of students? Write an idea in the comments.

2 thoughts on “Gender Neutral Greetings

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