Sunday, April 01, 2007

He Works Hard for the Money

(So you better treat me right...)

All's quiet on the western front here at Danifesto. Apologies all around to my disappointed and disenfranchised readers and I appreciate all the celebratory comments from my last post.

So the job is good for the most part. I'm really enjoying getting back into teaching again. For me, teaching has been more than just a job. It even transcends the career label. Because I glean so much identity from this career, I truly feel like it is a mission. No longer do I have to shut out that guilty voice of conscience that whispers"You really should be teaching, you know" when I traipse by a school playground.

I have talked before a great deal about being created gay. In addition, I believe I was created a teacher. When I was a kid, I would hold summer school classes for my class of one: my baby brother. "Big deal!" you say, "lots of kids do that!" Ahhhh but do they spend hours making worksheets by tracing them off of their own from school? Do they make lesson plans scheduled to the minute? Do they try to think of new and interesting ways to teach math concepts to a kid who is three years younger and probably not developmentally ready to learn it?

At any rate, it was obvious to those that knew me, what I would grow up to be. I clearly remember preparing for my first Vacation Bible School class. I made carefully lettered posters and painstakingly prepared materials for arts and crafts. Later, I would be asked to be a church camp counselor and would gain more experience doing Bible studies. And from there things continued to snowball. I enrolled in Youth Leader Core which taught me not only peer counseling and leadership skills but also vital personal growth/faith lessons. I led discussions and Bible studies for my peers. Later in university, I leapt at chances to teach kids from primary to high school.

But now, as rewarding as teaching university students can be (no spitting, hitting or glue eating for example), I still miss the little kids. For starters, children are shorter than me plus they give more hugs. Furthermore, some of these university students are very attractive which can be distracting! And little kids are just more fun. They are goofy and spontaneous. They are both needy and enigmatic. Even though my humour is better received by my university classes, I still suspect I'm missing out on my calling: teaching elementary children.

Perhaps part of this is due to the fact that I also sense that I've been created to have children of my own. Ironic, I know but still it's there. I honestly don't know if this is in God's plan for me. I feel a little like Abraham when he was uber-old and some stranger shows up on his tent step to tell him he's going to be a father. Just like Abraham, my partner is also barren and has given up the idea long ago. So maybe teaching children fulfills that need for me on some level. I'm not sure. What I am sure of is that God has a twisted sense of humour and if children are in the cosmic picture, they will happen in a way so cool, I would have never imagined it.

One thing that I am struggling with now is how to reconcile my personal and professional lives. Just because I am protected (here in Canada) from being fired for being gay, doesn't mean that there would be no consequences for being "out". Twice now I've run into students in the city while I was with my partner. I was friendly but neither time did I bother to introduce him. (I know that in my culture this is considered rude but in Asia it isn't at all. All particpants were Asian except for moi.) But at some point, the subject of my personal life will arise (as it does with any teacher) and I'll have to make a decision. On which side of the closet door will my job/career/mission be better served?

1 comment:

Reid Dalgleish said...

Hey Dan,

Still loving the blog. I like this post. There is so much that I've thought about in here. Children are so fascinating, and I think a lot of gay men to get the calling to teach. It does seem to be filling a need that can't be reconciled otherwise, in addition to the fact that gay men are (generally) more socially sensitive than straight men, which becomes important in an educational setting.

I have a lot of teaching friends that have to consider the same issues as you whether to be out at work or not. It is so dependent on the school district and the school, I'm sure it can get extremely complicated. It's too bad that it's such a non-issue. And it must be difficult to think that if some of your students did find out, some might feel let down, others might be completely excited, others completely nonchalant, and others disappointed that you didn't tell them earlier -- as if it was a shameful thing that you were trying to hide.

But kids are pretty smart and can see that many times, it is more a reaction to the social mores of the times that dictate your decisions in this matter moreso than personal ones.

Anyways, thanks for the though provocations and keep the posts coming!

Reid