One month on

March 11, 2010 at 8:20 pm (Out)

I first outed myself on the 3rd of February and other than the incident I’ve referred to, I’ve had not one incident.  I’m curiously finding this both encouraging and, in a strange way, disappointing.  It’s not that I want abuse, but I think I want some acknowledgement of my sexuality.  No-one saying anything is almost as if nothing has happened.  I don’t want people to carry on as if nothing is different.  Maybe I’m being difficult to please.

On another note, another teacher who I know to be gay has found another job, and will be leaving the college this summer.  I think I’ll have a chat and see if I can get him tom come out as well – what’s he got to lose?

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A nice thought

March 5, 2010 at 8:45 pm (Out) (, )

Aysha came to see me yesterday. She said something rather nice, which I’d like to believe, but I’m not sure. She said that she’s noticed a reduction in homophobia around college and she thinks this reduction is down to me coming out. A sweet thing to say, if only it were true.

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As for Senior Management

February 28, 2010 at 9:33 pm (Out)

You may remember that I’d reported the “gay boy” incident onto Senior Management, who were investigating.  They took witness statements off the 3 lads, that I’d narrowed the remark down to.  That was all before half-term.  Last week, I heard….absolutely nothing.  The SMT had conveniently forgotten all about it.  Homophobia is taken so seriously that when a Head of Dept. experiences it, they do virtually nothing.  What chance do mainscale teachers of indeed students have of their experiences being treated properly.  I will be discussing this with various key players tomorrow – see if I  can kick up a bit of a stink.

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I don’t know if I’ve done the right thing but…

February 28, 2010 at 8:45 pm (Out) (, , )

I’ve allowed this student back into my classroom.  In the end what swayed my decision was:

a) he apologised profusely several times,

b) if by staying I get the opportunity to work on him a little so that in the future when discussing homosexuality he is able to say “one my teachers was gay…he was alright though”, I’ll settle for that.

I went home yesterday, and stayed with my Mum overnight.  We’ve never discussed my sexuality.  On the one occasion that I tried to bring it up she said that she didn’t want to know.  I’ve never mentioned it since.  Went for a short walk with my sister and asked her what Mum thinks of my being gay (first time I’ve mentioned the word with any member of my family).  apparently she’s never said anything.  I told her David and I had a civil partnership 2 years ago and that I didn’t invite any family because I knew they wouldn’t want to attend.  She would have gone I know, as would two of my brothers and their wives, but lets face it, they’d have gone out of obligation, not because they respect my relationship.  She seemed surprised when I told her that I went to university to escape Fairford.  I don’t know how she will interpret this discussion.

I’ll leave the ball in her court now.  If she attempts to open a dialogue along these lines I’ll open up to her, otherwise, I’ll write her off with the rest.  I’m surprised that none of my siblings have ever asked me any questions about being gay or growing up gay.  The question everyone asks is, “when did you realise”.  I’d have through they’d be really interested to know the answer to that one, but no.  No-one mentions it.  It’s clearly something they don’t want to discuss.  They are probably all  bunch of raving homophobes.

I’m thinking it’s time I distanced myself from my family further.  I’ll go back home and see Mum every 3 or 4 weeks, as now.  But as for attending any other family do’s I don’t really see the point.  I always feel uncomfortable.  David is never invited.  It’ll be interesting to see if he gets an invite to my nieces wedding next year.  I doubt it.  I clearly have some very deep resentments toward my family.  I’ve been thinking a lot recently about what it was like for me growing up gay.  Hmmm….

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And so the AS

February 24, 2010 at 9:21 pm (Out) (, , )

I nearly bottled it today.

I knew I had to tell the AS, but I’ve only known them since September, and being less mature I was nervous about telling them.

During the lesson one lad asked me if I was married.  I thought about it and said “sort of”.  Which led to the inevitable question of how you can be sort of married.  I looked at Hannah and smiled, she knew what I was thinking and mouthed “no”.  I’d prevaricated for too long and began to feel way too nervous.  It was a that point that Hannah then, bless her, tried to help me out by getting the class back to the topic under discussion.  I said something about how I’ll deal with this in a minute and returned to the discussion.

A little later I decided to introduce the next topic – Family diversity.  I wrote on the board the different ways in which families can be diverse.  Structurally, ethnically, social class, sexual diversity.  With the last one I said, “and that is how you can be sort of married” and I waited for the penny to drop.  A number of whispers and mumbles broke out.  I caught one students eye and she mouthed “are you gay” to which I nodded.  I heard another whisper from one of my tutees asking “is he gay” so I looked at her and said, “you can ask the question if you want”, she wasn’t going to, but he friend stepped up.

Well, I’ve done it now.

Another one of my tutees in the class stayed behind afterwards to ask me why I’d told them.  She was concerned that I shouldn’t have to tell them, that it is my private business.  I think she felt for me.  I reassured her that it was my decision, one I’d taken some time ago and why.  Her concern is very touching.  Some of these students are just wonderful and make me proud.

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The apology

February 23, 2010 at 6:38 pm (Out) ()

I completed the paperwork to transfer the guilty student to another class and another teacher today.

I called him back after the lesson to tell him.  He took this opportunity to apologise profusely, claiming that his “gay boy” comment had been aimed at a photograph on the board and not at me.  I explained that my first responsibility is to him and that I could not guarantee that I could continue to be objective in my treatment of him and that he has a right to be treated fairly.  I also told him that I don’t know if I want him in the room.  He is still desperate to remain, believing that his best chance of success this year is for him to remain.  I’m beginning to waiver so I said I’d think about it overnight.  The truth is, I don’t want to even look at him at the moment.  Should I rise above this and keep him?  If he stays I get the opportunity to work on his views, if he leaves no-one ever will.  But I don’t want to see him right now.

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no title

February 22, 2010 at 7:09 pm (Out)

I’d rather not post today, but sticking to the maxim that I be honest…

Saw my D block today – the group containing the student who made the “gay boy” remark.  One of his friends saw me beforehand.  She let slip (intentionally or not I can’t be sure) that this student did not know that I was gay and that the remark was aimed at a picture I had displayed on the smartboard of someone androgynous.  I have no idea whether to believe this or not as she is a friend of his.  She also claims that she does not know who said it, but as she sits right next to him, I find that difficult to believe.

Anyway, today I was shiny happy person.  And they think everything is back to normal.  Thing is, I feel like shit.  The easy solution is just to transfer this kid into another class to be taught by someone else.  I’m not sure how I feel about that.  I could transfer the whole group to a supply teacher that we have working with us, but again, I don’t know how happy I would be with that.  Either way there is no solution that I can hit upon that I am happy with.  Sorry, feeling depressed tonight.

My problem is that I allow students to get through to me.  This is especially the case with A2 students.  I care too much and I take my duties toward them very seriously.  When they let me down…

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Melancholic

February 21, 2010 at 2:19 pm (Out)

Passed the web address of this blog to one of my students yesterday.  This prompted me to go back and read it just to make sure there is nothing here I wouldn’t want her to read.  This has put me in a melancholic mood as I am reminded of my coming out story.  Sometimes the past is best left  where it is.

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Now for the AS

February 21, 2010 at 1:55 am (Out) (, )

I’d forgotten that this occurred so I’m adding it a bit late.

So my A2’s know.  The news hasn’t filtered down to my AS yet.  I have to confess to feeling more than a little bit nervous about them.  I feel I’ve not established as good a relationship with the AS as the A2 (despite the previous post).  I’ve not been on form this year so it’s bound to take longer to win them over.  I think also, I was at one point planning to get promoted this year so I didn’t want to get too close to any group in case I had to stop teaching them. On top of that, there is one girl in the  group who simply doesn’t rate me at all – just a feeling, but I’m right.

Anyway, just before halt-term.  AS doing some kind of group work on sociology of family.  One girl (errr…Hannah) tries to encourage me to get married, that my girlfriend would like a good wedding.  Similar to A2, I say “I’m going over there to talk to another group, but you’re making a really big assumption there”.  I leave her and her partner (Faheema) to figure it out.  After about 10-15 mins I move back to this couple and ask if they’ve managed to figure what they’ve incorrectly assumed.  Like good Sociologists they confidently state that they had incorrectly assumed that all women want to get married!

I suppose I should be pleased that they automatically think sociologically.  I say “n000, that’s not the assumption”.  I look from Faheema to Hannah and back again.  I look from Faheema, then up on the wall behind them at the “some people are gay get over it” poster.  I look back at Faheema, then at Hannah.  Faheema looks behind at the poster, then at me.  A look of realisation forming on her face.  Hannah’s turn, she looks at the wall, then at Faheema then she turns open-mouthed to look at me.  The look of shock is a picture!  Still looking at me, she lowers her head and conspiratorially beckons me closer.  As I get there she whispers “are you gay?”.  I whisper back “yes”, pause and then move to another group.  I can here Hannah say, “but he looks normal”!!

4pm, after the next lesson Hannah shows up at my office.  I expected her to have a battery of questions.  Instead she’s turned up with one of my A2’s to show me how to play a card game called “bullshit” that she had mentioned.   We spend about 15 mins on this (I lose badly).  She then insists on forcing me to tidy my office.  What a sweetie!  She doesn’t know it, but a random act like this, after coming out is so supportive and so reassuring.  God I’m the luckiest man in the world having such wonderful students to work with.  I must explain this to Hannah next week and thank her.

I realise that I am currently doing what will turn out to be the best job of my life.  I need to savour this.

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First homophobia

February 12, 2010 at 7:29 pm (Uncategorized) ()

One of my A2’s shouted “gay boy” from the back of the class yesterday.

Assistant Principals are investigating but the students have closed ranks.  They won’t grass for fear of the consequences.

I prepared myself for todays lesson.  Put myself in a dark place so that I could be nasty to them.  I like them too much, without the dark place I couldn’t do what I needed to do.  Kept them waiting outside until I was ready.  Had them file in silently.  I then informed them of the new regime – speak when given permission to do so.  Raise hand to answer questions, etc.  I scowled at them the whole lesson.

I normally have a very easy going, and relaxed approach.  They’ve never seen me really angry before so it was probably quite a shock for them.  It got worse.  I gave them a second piece of homework to do over half-term week and informed them that if it is not completed to a satisfactory standard they will be placed in homework club and kept them until I am satisfied.  I then placed a number of them in homework club for past offences.  I told them afterwards that they can have whatever relationship they want with me.  But informal relationships carry responsibilities regarding trust and respect.  I feel that I respect them far more than they respect me.

I’ve seen 5 of them since the lesson, all wanting a resolution to the problem.  I’ve told them I want a confession or a written statement from witnesses.  I’ve since been told by one of my religious studies teachers that some of the students were so upset when they left the class that they cried.  Success!  I’m a horrible, horrible person.

Half-term next week, got to go through it all again on the 22nd Feb.

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