I taught small children for many years. Every child between the age of 3 and 9 in our community knew my name. I was a substitute teacher.
In those 13 years I substituted, I probably learned more than the students. For the most part, I looked forward to each day in the classroom and took great satisfaction in filling another person's shoes. See, I needed to do everything like the teacher or it upset the students. I didn't want to do that.
I have two stories today:
It was very simple back in those days when I was in the classroom. Students used the shared classroom bathroom or in the halls the boys used the boys, girls used the girls and teachers used the teachers. But it didn't exactly work that way.
The book that should have been written was There's a Teacher in the Kid's Bathroom. I had a 2nd grade teacher tell me that she spent a lot of time counseling children with her panty hose around her knees...they kept bursting in on her in the classroom bathroom. And life went on. Of course the students eventually learned to knock but she never learned to lock the door. In fact, the locks were probably removed so student wouldn't lock themselves in there. She used it because there was a real need and she had a room full of students to supervise with no help.
That is where the transgender bathroom issue kind of a puzzle to me. See, I think that stalls need to be put in the boys restroom too. In fact, if there were stalls and all bathrooms were boys and girls both, no one would think a thing about it. We do share bathrooms at home, in the classroom and at our friends homes. It just makes sense to me.
|There's a Boy in the Girls Bathroom|
Then in public there is the issue of lines at the women's and none at the men's. More times than I can count the women have simply stood guard and as they took turns using the boys side. But, when you think about it, why would we need separate bathrooms when there is only one stall in each? I don't know.
|Miss Nelson Is Missing|
The book ties in with the There's a Boy... book in that not being wanted or understood eats away at a person's heart. Many time I felt like the transgender kid that doesn't know quite where they fit. It is not a good feeling, trust me.
Miss Nelson is Missing was very popular in a school I subbed in and everyone apologized to me when they confessed of their love for it. I still remember when the school voted it the most popular book of the year with a bow to me as a sub they actually did like.
There is a Boy In the Girls Bathroom was also a favorite at that same time. Both of these books were about people that were "outsiders" in their world.
And so is the transgender issue. Hopefully, the problem will be thought through and transgender youths will not have to face the dilemma they are faced with now. It is very sad. Young people are confused, embarrassed and in some cases a little afraid.
It is something so outside our cultural heritage experience that everyone is a little uncertain about what to do. Are we ready to face it that there is a lot more to being a "boy" and a "girl" than meets the eye? We have been pushed over the edge and the time has come to open the parachute of compassion and inclusion.
In the end maybe we are all more alike than different...what about that?And as a former Miss Nelson, I know it is very important to fit in somewhere and that includes the bathroom.
What do you think?
Note: If you haven't read the Oprah book selection Middlesex, you really should. It was a Pulitzer Prize winner. I'm just saying.