If you have not read my post titled “Being Put Back in the Closet” read it first, or this post will not make any sense to you. This is an update of this post. I had feared the worse about this situations, but it has not turned out too badly. The rest of this post is from an email I sent to a reader and friend with a further explanation of my situation at this school. We have been in school for three weeks and things are looking better, so I wrote most of the following as a response to a very supportive email that he had sent me. I hope he doesn’t mind me using what I had wrote to him here. However, just a day after I wrote this post, the principle of the school stopped me in the halls.
Several of the parents have had discussions with the principle about me. Apparently, they are all ecstatic because they have finally hired a great teacher (their words, not mine). I have gotten kids who never had an interest in school before to being very excited about going to class. In the classroom, I am myself. I will not change that, though I can't let slip curse words, like I do in my college classes. I have also had a some of the parents come up to me and tell me how much their kids are enjoying my class. Maybe they will learn one day that it is not the person's "feminine behavior" that matters but their credentials. The kids may be saying things behind my back, but I haven't heard the slightest rumor of it (this is a small school, rumors get around quick). It appears that they are so fascinated by my classes that it doesn't matter to them. Besides, my everyday voice may be "feminine" as they say, but my teaching voice is loud and booming.
I look forward to the day when all of America can be as progressive and accepting as our cities. It will happen one day, I feel sure, but just as racism still continues, so will homophobia. I attempt to teach my students each day to be more tolerant. I do what I can. I want to broaden their minds. Isn't that what education is about? If the kids learn it, maybe it will rub off on their parents. If not, maybe it is a lesson they take with them throughout their life. I may not make a huge difference, but every narrow minded view that I expand, is a step in the right direction. At least that is how I allow myself to get through this.
I want to thank all you for your your words of support and comments about this post. It really helps to reach out to others like I am able to with my blog. I don't always think that people who have lived most if not all of their lives in larger cities can truly understand what those of us in rural areas go through. I have always preferred living in a city, not in a town of 1100 people, but hopefully, this is temporary.