“Communities of Discomfort”: Empowering LGBTQ+ Ally Work in a Southeastern Rural Community – A Response

The April edition of the English Education journal was focused entirely on topics relevant to rural schools. The article “Communities of Discomfort,” by University of Alabama professor Stephanie Anne Shelton, gave a case study of a pre-service teacher in her final placement. “Persephone” had attended a rural school and had requested to do her student teaching at a rural school.

According to the article, the University of Alabama requires its teacher candidates to teach certain units during their practicum, including one that has something to do with social justice issues. That was something I hadn’t expected; I remember having worked more with my mentor teacher to determine what I would teach. This requirement seems to have put a fair amount of pressure on Persephone, as the classroom teacher she was working with flatly refused to allow her to fulfill those requirements. In an interview with Shelton, Persephone states, “when I talk to my mentor teacher, he’s like, ‘Nope! Can’t do that here! You’re not in the city anymore!’”

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