Online Teaching Institute Keynote: Tommy Mayberry


Gender Pronouns, Teaching and Learning, and Cultures of Respect

We’ve all done it. Said the wrong pronoun, used the wrong name, and/or otherwise referred to someone in some sexed/gendered way and immediately wished we could take it back. (And, guess what? We are all going to do it – we’re all human; we all make mistakes.) So, how can we as instructors forestall these mistakes in our teaching practices and activate in ourselves an inclusive ideology for gender and sexed identities in our classrooms? In this keynote, we’ll start with some grammar and linguistic history to identify where these words come from in our language and how they work (and don’t work), and then we’ll discuss impacts and impasses of privilege and inclusivity to get us into some strategies for positive engagement with gender pronouns and teaching and learning. We’ll wrap up with highlighting pronoun awareness and cultures of respect to ultimately reflect on whiteness, marginalization, trauma, and continued struggle.

About Tommy Mayberry

Tommy Mayberry (he/she/they) is the Manager of Outreach and Recruitment at St. Jerome’s University at the University of Waterloo as well as an Instructional Skills Workshop Trainer and Facilitator with the ISW Network. As an academic drag queen, Tommy works and researches from an embodied standpoint to explore, both individually and intersectionally, gender, pedagogy, performance, language, social media, and reality TV (to name but a few) and has been the recipient of numerous awards and grants, the most recent of which is the University of Guelph’s Learning Enhancement Fund (LEF) for “The Science Library Project/Le projet de bibliothèque scientifique” (2019-2020). Tommy is also co-editor of the forthcoming book, RuPedagogies of Realness: Essays on RuPaul’s Drag Race and Teaching and Learning (McFarland, 2020) and has presented academic work and research across Canada and internationally in Oxford, Tokyo, Washington DC, and Honolulu. Prior to joining St. Jerome’s University, Tommy was an Educational Developer in the Office of Teaching and Learning at the University of Guelph (2018-2020) as well as in the Centre for Teaching Excellence at the University of Waterloo (2015-2018), and they are currently finishing their PhD in English Language and Literature at the University of Waterloo.