One Teacher’s Approach

Firstly, “Then Isabela raised her hand: ‘Sometimes my uncle wears black nail polish.'” So cute. I hope this means she has a spooky gothy uncle.

After reading that article, I got to thinking. This is probably something I’ll have to deal with eventually. With any luck, I’ll be in a high school library (the more I think about it though, the more I’m considering elementary school as an option). Either way, I’ll probably be seeing a lot of students every day. All these students are going to be different in some way. The example of Katie (Star Wars Girl) comes to mind. She didn’t want to be singled out and teased because of her love of Star Wars because she was already different. She is adopted and wears glasses. In first grade, those are really big things! I’m adopted too. I got my glasses in 5th grade. Kids are all different. There is always something. Gender is another something.

Come to think of it, PEOPLE are all different, not just kids. Adults get teased and bullied too, and not just by peers. I’ve been trying to portray myself more “normally” since I know I want to be a librarian in a school. My hair used to be bright pink. Right now, it is a faded pink towards the ends, but it’s mostly blonde. I did this so I would be able to get a job and be able to be in schools without funny looks. That’s not fair to me. There are dress codes out there that ban piercings and tattoos.
Side note: I used to work at a kid’s book and toy store. The original rule was “No visible tattoos or piercings, other than earrings.” Now, I understand, since I was around kids, to cover the black & red big tribal heart on my leg, since kids would see that and it might be scary (I don’t think it is, but I’m not a toddler). But the butterfly on my upper arm? I couldn’t wear cute cap sleeves because I had to cover that. The only tattoo I was allowed to show was the cat tattoo on my lower arm, because wearing long sleeves all the time would have been far to uncomfortable in the warm store. My point is, my tattoos are a choice, yes, but they are part of me. They don’t mean that I can’t do the job just as well as anyone else. I was an assistant manager there by the time I left to go to school full time. Clearly I did the job just fine.

I think that people assume that the difference between tattoos/piercings and other things (like being adopted or having glasses) is choice. But my birthmom chose to put me up for adoption. My parents chose to adopt me. I chose to have glasses instead of sitting two feet from the blackboard. Katie chose the Star Wars backpack, and I would have too. People chose what clothes they want to wear. People chose to act upon any variety of impulses and feelings.

People chose to present the gender they are, instead of the one they are born with. This is a decision I’ll never have to make, since I’m happy being a girl, though I’m a tomboy about it. “I’ll get it, hold my pumps” ~Elvira Kurt. I have so much love for those with the bravery it takes to realize that you aren’t your plumbing.

We could all walk around and act like we fit into the little round holes that society built for us.

I could choose to get my degree, get a job, buy a house, raise a family, get a dog, and wear whatever Lane Bryant tells me to. But I would not be happy because I would not be me.

Instead, I choose to get my degree, get a job, and go from there. I don’t want children. I don’t want to cover my tattoos. I don’t want to take out or hide my piercings. I want to have pink hair. I choose to be me.

I want to be the kind of teacher that Melissa Bollow Tempel is (1st article). I want my library to be a free place. I want kids to be themselves, whether they fit into the little round holes or not. I want them to be free to be round or square or triangles or butterflies or dinosaurs, if they so chose.

Just because I’m a librarian doesn’t mean that people need to be organized like books.


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