Terri Coles
June 21, 2013

Teacher Gets an Awesome Surprise From His Students For Pride (VIDEO)

We’re coming close to the end of Pride month, but there’s plenty of celebrating left to do and awesome stories of LGBT people and their allies left to tell. This one, posted to Reddit by an eighth-grade teacher in Ontario, is particularly touching.

The teacher, whose username is BitiumRibbon, is gay — something his students know. He’s also in his first year of teaching and has a class of students he describes as “tough.” One group of boys in particular can be troublemakers, he says: interrupting, sometimes rude, getting into fights, things like that. Not entirely unusual for a bunch of hormone-fueled kids, but probably a challenge for a newbie teacher.

BitiumRibbon has been asking students to submit a YouTube video to start each day with as they come to the end of the school year. He reviews the videos in advance to make sure they’re school friendly, but otherwise lets the students choose. On Wednesday morning, a student named Harry — quiet but popular, and friends with the rowdy kids — says he wants to show a video the teacher hasn’t yet reviewed.

“I really want to show it,” he says back. “You’ll like it, I promise. It’s a music video.”

Given what Harry listens to, I’m wary. He listens to a lot of rap and hip-hop, and that’s fine, but I’ve heard some non-school-appropriate language come out of the music he listens to. So I ask him if it’s appropriate for school; he tells me yes.

This kid is many things, but he has never lied to me, that I’m aware of. Not once. So… I take a deep breath and tell him okay. What the heck.

Well, his teacher was obviously right to give Harry the benefit of the doubt. The video he showed was “Same Love” by Macklemore, an independent MC, and Ryan Lewis. Have a watch/listen.

BitiumRibbon was touched, as any person who isn’t a robot would be.

And there’s Harry, proudly watching along with the rest of the class as the artist stands up for those gay kids who struggle, and the video shows a difficult, lonely life culminating in a fabulous wedding. Harry. My “tough kid.”

The video finishes, the kids applaud, and I thank him, and he says to me, “I told you you’d like it.”

And then his loud, rude friend Mark says: “That was for you, Mr. K.”

The whole class applauded again – for me this time – and then I cried. I cried the proudest tears I have ever shed.

RIGHT IN THE FEELS. Consider this your reminder to keep on celebrating Pride, this month and all of them, and to have a little hope for the upcoming generation. Apparently they’re gonna be all right.