“Creating I Know I’m Not Me brought new surprises and discoveries every step of the way. I imagined that this book would be life-changing for certain students-the strongest writers, and those who had faced the most discrimination and homophobia. Yes, the experience was powerful for them, but the students who really came to life during the publishing process were some I wouldn’t have predicted: a straight student who was brought to tears realizing some of the common challenges she and her classmates faced, an English language learner who used up all the space on my tape recorder exploring his past, and many students who weren’t even in my class but who put in the extra time and effort to share their stories." -Nicole Dixon, M.A. Student in the Teaching of English Program, Teachers College, Columbia University
When Nicole Dixon began student teaching at Harvey Milk High School, a public transfer school originally conceived as a safe space for LGBTQ students, she had no doubt that her semester would be unique. At Harvey Milk, she found, identity and self-discovery were explicitly at the heart of her English classroom curriculum.
“You realize quickly that students just don’t have the mental space to think about metaphors and similes until they start to feel comfortable in their own skins,” Dixon said.