“I don’t like calling bodies wrong. That’s what Schuyler Bailar, a transgender swimmer for Harvard, tells 60 Minutes… And yet, as Schuyler, who was born female, entered puberty, he felt increasingly alienated from his body.” L. Stahl, CBS News
ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key
“I watched my brother go through puberty and he grew into his body, Schuyler says. I was like, Why does he get to grow into his body? I feel like I’m growing out of mine. I feel like my body is– is growing away from me.
On 60 Minutes this week, correspondent Lesley Stahl explores how Schuyler came to terms with being transgender and the difficult choice he faced when he started Harvard last fall: compete as a star swimmer on the women’s team, as planned, or swim with the men and lose the glory of winning.
But Schuyler wasn’t the only one who had to adjust to a new reality. Stahl interviews his parents — Gregor and Terry Bailar — about what it’s like to realize your daughter is actually your son… Schuyler had been depressed as a girl and suffered through eating disorders. His mother told us that she feared for his life.
So it was that serious, Stahl tells Overtime. In a way, I think that they were as relieved as Schuyler was to figure it out. And they accepted it because they knew it was real.
More dramatically, his parents had to adjust to seeing their family in a new light. They thought they had a little girl, and now they have two sons.
Stahl ask Schuyler if he thinks his mother experienced a sense of loss when he transitioned. I don’t want to believe that there is because that makes me sad and makes me feel at fault, but I know there is.”
NOTE: Lessons can also be used with native English speakers.
Level: Intermediate – Advanced
Language Skills: Reading, writing, and speaking. Vocabulary and grammar activities are included.
Time: Approximately 2 hours.
Materials: Student handout (from this lesson) and access to news article.
Objective: Students will read and discuss the article with a focus on improving reading comprehension and learning new vocabulary. At the end of the lesson students will express their personal views on the topic through group work and writing.
I. Pre-Reading Activities
Predictions: Analyzing headings and photos
Directions: Have students examine the titles of the post and of the actual article. After they examine the photos, ask students to create a list of words and ideas that they think might be related to this article.
II. While Reading Activities
Directions: Students are to infer the meanings of the words in bold taken from the article. They may use a dictionary, thesaurus, and Word Chart for assistance.
- Her brother went through puberty.
- Schuyler came to terms with being transgender.
- Schuyler had to adjust to a new reality.
- Schuyler had been depressed as a girl.
- The parents accepted it.
- But that didn’t make it an easy adjustment.
- He also started taking testosterone.
- This ushered in a second puberty.
- His mother experienced a sense of loss when he transitioned.
- Schuyler is content.
Directions: Students choose the correct word to complete the sentences taken from the article. They are to choose from the options presented.
More drama/dramatically, his parents/patents had to adjustment/adjust to seeing their familiar/family in a new lite/light. They thought they had a little girl, and now they have two sons. So I’m sure that they were going through/threw emotions, Stahl tells Overtime. But Schuyler was never made to feel that they were against this, that they were unhappy about it. They just supported him. And it was wonderment/wonderful.
Using Adjectives to describe pictures
Directions: Have students choose a picture from the article and write a descriptive paragraph using adjectives.
III. Post Reading Activities
Graphic Organizers: Finding the main idea
Directions: Have students use this advanced organizer from Write Design to assist them with discussing or writing about the main idea and points from the article.
Directions: Place students in groups Have each group list 3 questions they would like to ask any person mentioned in the article. Groups share questions as a class.
1-Minute Free Writing Exercise
Directions: Allow students 1 minute to write down one new idea they’ve learned from the reading. Ask them to write down one thing they did not understand in the reading. Review the responses as a class. Note: For the lower levels allow more time for this writing activity.