Pronouns: He, Him, His
Derrick Gay is a much sought after national education consultant with over two decades of experience as a classroom teacher and administrator. Currently Derrick serves as a resource to enrich community in schools, domestically and abroad, by delivering keynotes and workshops to students and parents and providing professional development for teachers, administrators, and school boards. Derrick is fluent in English, French, and Spanish and is comfortable presenting workshops in these languages. Derrick holds a BA in Romance Languages from Oberlin College, a BM from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music in Opera Performance, an MA from Columbia University in Educational Leadership, and is currently pursuing a PhD in Educational Leadership at The University of Pennsylvania.
“Sticks and Stones”
Length: 40-60 minutes
Are words neutral? Are the connotations of words generally understood similarly by all, even across different social identities, environments, and cultures? What influences how we understand multiple shades of meaning of words? And during contentious situations, does our intent sanitize the impact of our word choice? Building on insights gleaned from the audience, this workshop will challenge participants to further examine embedded meanings and understandings of words, with the aim of heightening awareness around ways in which we can intentionally use words to foster greater inclusion.
“Hair Me Out”
Length: 60-90 minutes
- Is a bald woman judged differently than a bald man?
- What is the locker room reaction to a boy who spends time grooming and is proud of his long hair? Is he effeminate?
- Do girls feel pressure to straighten their hair to feel accepted? Pretty? Do blonds really have more fun?
- What are weaves? Corn Rows? Locks? Are there questions regarding black people’s hair that we don’t ask for fear of offending or seeming ignorant?
- Is hair more important for girls than boys?
This interactive workshop uses hair as a metaphor and clips from Chris Rock’s documentary Good Hair to uncover how we have all learned to ascribe value judgments and make assumptions about others based, in part, on hair. Ultimately, this workshop aims to create a more inclusive school community by heightening awareness of our identity to inform behavior and word choice with others.
“Do You See What I See?”
Length: 40-60 minutes
Many students believe that since they attend the same school, each student also perceives and experiences the world similarly. Research suggests, however, that who we are and how others view us inform how we unconsciously view others — and conversely how others view us.
This workshop provides students with concrete tools to deconstruct language and popular images. This workshop is guaranteed to empower students to become critical consumers of media, thus allowing them and others to construct their own identity in personal and meaningful ways.