182/365 – people to thank who have had an impact on me. It’s the last day of semester one at my school. I have finished with the current crop of students and will now prepare for my next 5 months with a new group. As I am reflecting on my last semester, I think back to any substantial differences that I made for my students and this year, I can truly say that I did but it’s because I learned a lot in the process. I taught Psychology 12 and have a unit on adolescent development. This has been my defining course as I developed it and proposed it to the Richmond School District about a decade or more ago and have been the fortunate one to be able to teach what I created. I created a unit on adolescence and put in topics regarding alternate gender identifications other than the binaries of male and female that we have been accustomed to in our heterornormative existence – and no offense to anyone because that’s what we have been taught subconsciously. This year, unbeknownst to me, I had a transgender student in class. He made a comment on an assignment and I didn’t think twice as I thought he was male but because he drew attention to his gender, I was alerted. I asked the secretaries and was informed that the student I was inquiring about was “female”. I was confused. But he was not. It took me the year to have a discussion with him and he told me that I was the only teacher in his entire schooling who addressed this and that I was the only teacher who incorporated gender identity in subject matter. I did not react at the time that he told me this but I am very moved as I write this. I was bullied for my appearance (ethnic, fat, effeminate etc) but never about my gender identity as I knew I was male and my biology matched that. I made sure that I did extra research about gender identity, gender dysphoria and transgendered individuals to ensure that my lectures were correct. Thank you “student” for bringing me back to teacher and learning a lot more because I want to ensure all my students feel that my classroom is their classroom.
146/365 – people to thank who have had an impact on me. As thousands, maybe even tens of thousands of people line up to watch the new Star Wars movie – both old fans and new – I’m sure most of them feel that George Lucas or some other person related to the franchise has had an immense effect on them. I know of several people who have anticipated this day for the longest time and I am very happy for them that they have found something that speaks to them. I wished that I had some movie/tv/sports franchise that moved me so – from being able to know every bit of dialogue, to each of the characters and their relations to others, to trivia facts about sets but alas, that is not the case – yes, Orphan Black and Walking Dead I love but nowhere near to the level of Star Wars fans. I am living vicariously through my Star Wars fan friends via their Facebook posts. I revel in their fandom and the passion and joy they share within their community. Seeing and hearing about the anticipation for the movie itself, I am truly inspired by the level of dedication and it’s great to see that something as simple as entertainment can unite people and bring them so much happiness and pleasure. Thank you Star Wars fans for letting me get a glimpse into a world that I know very little about. I hope one day to also find something as meaningful for me in regards to fandom. To you, my Star Wars fans, “May the Force be with you!”