“my thoughts from a classroom that was never mine”

Dec 21
i thought today would be different…. a day without tears but it seems i always have my tears and it’s hard, so hard because i’m so tired of crying…
yesterday i received the official word that Pinnacle High School was in the process of hiring somebody to take the position that i was temporarily filling… i sat in the Principal’s Conference room as i was notified and i just couldn’t hide my tears or my disappointment … you would think that by now i would be used to crying…
for 30 plus years i taught students, in some capacity or another, and as jules i always wondered and even fantasied what it would be like to teach as a woman… well for just about a month i found that out and it was beautiful… yes i had to deal with a lot of frustrations, as the teacher i was filling in for had not yet been officially dismissed and he was still providing lesson plans and was doing the grading… his presence was always there with the students and haunting me reminding me i was just filling in until…. and because of that i really wasn’t the teacher in those student’s eyes…. i didn’t have the credibility as their teacher, no i was just “filling in” until..
but that didn’t matter in so many ways …. to me i was getting up early every morning and going to work… i was going to work as their teacher and as the person i always wanted to be…. i loved picking out my outfit everyday, doing my makeup, fixing my hair and hurrying off to work… i was a working woman and i loved it even more than i do in the summer as the Alaskan Naturalist for Princess… i guess i did enjoy it more because now i was interacting with students, something i loved doing all my life and something i learned i was meant to do with this life of mine…. and i just can’t describe how beautiful this was….

in so many ways i really felt i was overcoming some of my demons that i fight with everyday just because i’m transgender… i always wanted to be seen as just another woman… but at times it’s so hard because i carry the secrets of what i really am… i battle everyday with the fact that to me and to many the voice that they hear is that of a man’s…. that alone causes me to be mis-gendered time and time again, and even with people who know that i’m now tess and no longer jules… i don’t think the “straight” world will ever really know or understand how that breaks a transgender’s heart time and time again… but in my heart i know i will always be mis-gendered….

but in many of my past days i would walk the halls of the school and other female teachers would give me a casual compliment on something i was wearing… those few words would always fill my heart with joy… and now and then a girl in my class would compliment me on my earrings or my manicured nails and once again my heart would burst with joy… i can’t even count the prayers i offered up in thanks….. and as jules i was never comfortable interacting with many of the girls i taught… i just didn’t know how to interact , it felt too uncomfortable and i was always on guard trying to hide my secret thoughts and desires… in all my years of teaching, i rarely was able to interact with the other female teachers in our school….. it was too hard as i just wanted to be them so i didn’t know how to interact as just a male colleague… but in these short few weeks that i was Ms. Talarico everything just seemed to fall into place….. and in the end many of these students won my heart…. i loved hearing my name, Ms. Talarico being echoed in that classroom… it’s strange but now as a woman interacting with these students, everything just seemed so much more natural and easier, even with my new female colleagues…. i had my little group of students that were dancers and i loved talking with them before class…. they loved the fact that at my age i was taking ballet lessons…..
everything was perfect…
but now i sit in an empty classroom… it’s no longer my classroom although now that i think about it, this never was officially my classroom…. i look at the teacher’s desk that i wanted so badly to be mine… i would of had all my little things on that desk that told the students who Ms. Talarico was…. no longer will i stand in the front of that room, hell i never really got a chance to do what i was born to do, teach…
so you wonder why my heart aches so much, it’s because i will never have this opportunity again… my teaching certification expires in July and it would be too hard to get all the requirements to renew that certificate, so now i will never have my own classroom as Ms. Talarico and it hurts so bad….
in these past few years my life has been in so much turmoil, first “coming out” and then transitioning…. i’ve done so much just to put my life back together the way it should of been… but it will never be completely the way it should of been… and today i’ll walk out of this empty classroom, a classroom that i wanted so much to be mine, but it wasn’t….
later that night…
i lay in my bed, curled up tight with my broken heart…. my tears just came pouring out and i couldn’t stop crying

One thought on ““my thoughts from a classroom that was never mine””

  1. Merry Christmas Tess! I am so sorry that the school district hired the wrong person. Their loss for sure. The best part of my last cruise to Alaska was having your presence and fantastic presentations. I never missed any of them. You are an amazing educator. I loved your sharing of personal stories. I am so proud of you and your journey. Celebrate yourself! Please don’t be sad as you are an amazing Lady.


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