Build an Inclusive and Positive Classroom Using YCteen Stories

[Photo: Writers Sabatine Gervais and Mario Sanchez discuss how to make their stories more helpful to YCteen readers.]

In response to the presidential election, our writers have titled the next issue of YCteen magazine, “WE Make America Great.”

Many students have told us they feel uncertain and anxious after the election.

You can show youth that you recognize their concerns and hopes by bringing real teens’ stories into your classroom.

Teachers tell us that reading and discussing YCteen stories helps students feel less alone and more hopeful about coping with personal and social challenges. It also builds empathy for other students in the classroom.

In her upcoming story, “Where in the World Do I Belong?” Sabatine Gervais writes about being uprooted from her home in Haiti at age 11 and the torment she endured at her new school. Here’s an excerpt:

“There were bullies who picked on me. They said that Haiti was a poor country filled with dirt, and that Haitians are ugly people.

I often put my head on the table and cried. But I made sure that no once noticed.

Five years later, things are better, on both a social and an academic level. I’m learning about journalism, history, literature, sociology, and other topics at an international high school, which I like. But I’m still adjusting to being an immigrant without feeling ashamed.”

Sabatine wrote her story to help peers overcome the loneliness and isolation that she felt as a new immigrant. Her story will run in the next issue of YCteen alongside stories by other teen writers who describe the challenges of growing up gay, homeless, Muslim, female, or black. We look forward to sharing the stories with you in mid-January.

Sincerely,
Holly St. Lifer
Editorial Director, YCteen

P.S. To help you facilitate meaningful discussions around stories and topics that matter most to teens, please look to our curricula and professional development for guidance. We’ve designed two new programs around boosting social emotional learning (for middle or high school).  

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