“You Got Me Feelin’ Emotions”….Remember in my “Confessions” post how I said I need to show emotion more?
Guess what I did today? I bawled in front of my class. Did you hear that? IN FRONT OF MY CLASS. We’re talking tears streaming down my face bawling. It was rough. I am drained.
Here’s how it all began. One of my students in my Gender course is Female-to-Male (FTM) transgender (if you want more info about this or are confused- ask. I will help you understand) and he wanted to present to my intro courses. A few years ago I had a friend who was FTM present to my classes and it went really well and having an actual person standing there explaining how they felt and what they went through is better than reading any textbook. Students loved it and I was excited to have another student present.
In my 9am class, things went really well. My class asked thoughtful questions, they were genuinely curious, but overall they were very open but reserved about their questions. I was happy with it. Let’s move to the blubber fest class. My 10am class is my favorite class. We mesh. These students are much younger and louder and overall very rambunctious (which I love). I was excited for the presentation and knew they would ask very direct questions. Here’s what didn’t happen: no direct questions were asked. In fact, this group was almost silent. When it came time to ask questions some people said they didn’t understand why someone would treat this person so horribly (one person told our speaker he was an abomination and should kill himself! Yes, I know). At that point one girl raised her hand and said she had actually went to high school with my student speaker. She began telling the class how judgemental people were and that she heard horrible things about our speaker. At this point she began crying.
Did I mention I was sitting right next to her!? As she began crying I began chanting to myself, “oh lord, not now, please don’t cry, think of something funny, shit you are about to cry, oh god, you ARE going to cry, great- you are crying, yep, that’s a tear”. She began saying how she fit in in school and that no one knew that her mother was a lesbian and that her younger sister was born a boy and that she was not like any of them. It broke me hearing her reveal these things she had told only a few select people. She told our entire class. I knew her end goal hadn’t been to reveal this information but I also could tell she had to get it out.
I sat there staring at her in awe. I couldn’t even bring myself to look around the room in fear that the other students’ tears would make me cry harder (yes, there were many tears in that class). Here we were having a speaker talk about a very important topic intending to educate my class; one that he is very confident and comfortable with and the one person who really affected my class was their classmate.
I cried once in class before but I was pregnant then… Today was rough. The class after this class was a joke. I ending up showing a film. I was too drained to lead discussion (this was my actual Gender course so I fully disclosed with them what had happened). Days like today remind me why I love my job. I always say that I love teaching because I can actually see learning. I can. I learn so much from my students and they make me a better person because they challenge me. I was embarrassed that I was crying because I’ve always felt like my job is to maintain composure and I hold myself to a high standard when it comes to emotionality at work. After a few minutes I just didn’t care though. She moved me. I could feel her releasing years of sadness and anger and shame and misunderstanding. She broke in front of her classmates and it broke me in front of my students.
I’m still affected by the things she revealed and I wonder how we will start up class tomorrow. (I mean, what will I say when class begins because clearly, it cannot go unmentioned).
Fortunately, when I came home from work we went out to dinner and to the library and had a good time, which allowed me to decompress a little. What I really need to do is go for a run and take a hot shower so I’ll leave you with a sweet picture of my two favorite guys.