i want to crochet something for students in some way but it either needs to be a very small (like 5 minutes each) type thing, or i don’t give one to everyone. perhaps only my advisees.
how to send off the seniors? I don’t teach any, but i know a handful from clubs and the play and such, and i would like to celebrate them
this department is really shifting. there is so much possibility here.
how are there so few weeks left. one month from now i will be done with my first full year. beginning to end with the same students.
grades are meant to be simple, transparent communications but also convey so much information and i dont know how to do that accurately/meaningfully (yet?)
there are so many things i wish i could do to wrap things up and reflect and preplan for next year because im already excited to try this dice project again. its going pretty well but there are a lot of things i would do differently the second time around and i am excited to try again!
a middle school art teacher in florida was fired for allowing discussion of sexuality and identity in class. i am tired. i am sad. i am anxious.
every week it feels like my humanity is questioned anew.
Today, the Alabama House of Representatives voted to make it illegal for doctors to proscribe gender-affirming medical care for transgender youth (18 and under).
I am grateful for what a few representatives said in the battle that ended in a vote of 66-28 in favor of this bill.
Rep. England: “You’re saying this is about children. It’s not. What it is about is scoring political points and using those children as collateral damage”
Rep. Rafferty: “Its totally undermining family rights, health rights and access to health care.”
I was pretty numb while I read this headline at first. A protective numbness.
I was numb until I reached this quote in the article from Rep. Wes Allen: “Their brains are not developed to make the decisions long term about what these medications and surgeries do to their body,”
When I read that, I was angry. I was frustrated by the utter stupidity of it all. I wanted to storm down to that house and explain to this man that going through puberty ~naturally~ or whatever Is A Choice, and a choice with lasting, lifelong repercussions. I want to ask why he thinks the state should be able to make this choice for children: A choice that he states will have lasting effects on their bodies.
I have been fighting my body for years, and if I had been given the option at the beginning to not have to go through that, hell yes I would have picked that.
I’m not a better person for having had two puberties. I’m just sadder.
All I want is to be able to protect those kids in Alabama. I want to protect my trans students from the ricocheting pain I am feeling after this bill. And after all the rest.
In trying to understand who I am as a teacher I found a misconception I had been holding on to: I thought the pull to teaching was math.
(And I do love math I am grateful to have it as a partner in this endeavor I love its definitiveness and ambiguity
Give me good pattern any day of the week and I’ll be happy Or an algorithm a visualization a comparison a mapping a graph a prediction a puzzle
Math is a language where you can express both more and less than you can with words.
Math carries a precision that syllables and sentences never can Yet fails to articulate the finest points of humanness)
But to say I am tied to teaching because I love math is a knot that will unravel under tension. I would not have ended up here if I had not accompanied a bouquet of trans folks On legs of their expeditions: Through crushing expectations Through meeting themselves Through glimmers of expansive freedom Through letting the world in to meet them.
I teach in order to hold a place for these gender explorers and defiers For these norm breakers For these students looking for someone to see them, to know them.
I stumbled into teaching with my crochet hook and calculator with enormous and hazy and overwhelming dreams To chip away at these walls against which my back is pressed To exist where they said we couldn’t To make space for us.
powerful people Think that it is abuse To let me feel free
They want our existence to be reported Our support systems ripped out from under us
They want us gone Because we make them question every lie they ever told themselves about how they were allowed to exist through the world
We make them confront the terrifying expanse that the universe becomes when you realize it is your right to define yourself boundlessly, to be fully human, fully unique and yet the same, fully perfect and yet never not fully a work in progress
There are people Who Think that it is abuse To help me feel free
But who refuse to see the enormously obvious, heart shatteringly painful reality that is That their words rip open barely healed wounds There will be unthinkable, unforgivable pain because of this There will be lives broken and lost.
I want to hold a message of hope. Of ‘we will prevail’.
But it’s hard to stay positive and be a trans person in a world where your right to exist continues to be questioned in new old ways. I’m tired. I’m in pain.
——- Required afterthought: But we will care for eachother And we will care for ourselves And we will be free
This is a series thoughts in my attempt to process a meeting at work where we discussed trans people and students in such an abstract way that I felt invisible.
To be trans is to be traumatized.
To come out is to choose authenticity but also to choose more trauma — not because you want it but because it is inevitable. When I am in public I am afraid of “looking too trans”. I am afraid of what people will say to me. I am afraid of what people will do to me. I am afraid that I only have myself to rely on or protect me. I feel alone.
This violence has never happened to me. But it happens to people like me, for being people like me, every day. I have accepted that I will face people who hate me before we have even met. I have accepted that because I need to in order to survive.
Part of coming out for many people is sharing your new name. Names hold power. To be trans is to take that power back. To fully attempt the human super power of self definition.
There is so much in changing a name or pronouns.
It is not a small or a quick decision.
It is a decision filled with anxiety and pain and stress. Asking for this change is an incredibly difficult step for a student to take. It is one that is not taken without a tremendous amount of thought and consideration. To choose to come out as trans is to choose to have to prove that you know yourself better than anyone else does, to a judge to a doctor to a school. And to have to prove that over and over and over.
And to, after all this pain and anguish and celebration of making it to the moment of living in truth, be told that the “official record” is more important than your lived experience is detrimental to someone’s sense of self and belonging.
A document with name your parents chose before they even met you is somehow more official than one that you labored over and tested and changed and finally found something that made you feel whole. I don’t understand.
To choose to dead name someone is to tell someone that you don’t care about the pain and trauma and bravery and hatred and joy that got them to this point. It is to say that your comfort is more important than this person’s personhood. We cannot do that to students.
I began to bind my chest when I was 8 years old.
I remember feeling ashamed.
I remember feeling confused.
I remember feeling helpless.
But as it became apparent that my body could not be controlled
I tried even harder to minimize the evidence.
Tight tank tops turned into layers of camisoles
which turned into layers of compression sports bras
each one a size smaller than the last.
Binding made my back ache and ribs bruise.
I couldn’t seem to take a full deep breath.
But without it
the pain was much deeper
much more all consuming.
It wasn’t until the age of 20
that I was able to breathe fully for the first time.
A deep breath filling my chest, allowing it to expand entirely.
And that takes its toll on a person.
12 years of taking shallow breaths
of holding back.
of monitoring every millimeter.
These full lungs make me lightheaded.
There’s too much oxygen,
Too much possibility.