A rumor

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Peregrin5, Dec 13, 2012.

  1. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Dec 13, 2012

    Well today a student came up to me (one whom I have a good relationship with) and told me: "Mr. P, did you know there's a rumor going around about you?" in a very solemn manner.

    I immediately told him "I don't care and I don't want to know what it is." More like I knew what it was probably going to be anyway.

    He told me anyway: "There's a rumor going around that you are fruity."

    I shot back, "How would they know how I taste unless they've licked me?"

    We laughed it off and he left, but I began to put the pieces together. It's completely true though, I am gay.

    For the past few days some students have been telling me again and again how they found me on the internet in various pictures. This is nothing surprising to me, seeing as no one is safe from the long fingers of google's image search. Nothing I ever post online is ever incriminating anyway, and I rarely have pictures of myself even with my boyfriend.

    I do my best to keep my relationships private even online, unless you are FB friends with me, but apparently, I missed my Google Plus account, where I have ONE photo of me hugging my boyfriend. It's not explicit or anything. Just us being coupl-ey.

    The way some of the students were telling me that they found me on the internet, it sounded like they expected me to freak out or something. I would usually reply, "Oh, that's nice. No I won't add you."

    I didn't even put the pieces together until that student mentioned that rumor.

    So it's out there. To be honest, I don't really care too much if everyone found out. I'm not going to get defensive about it. I live in a very liberal area, I don't believe any of the students would lose any respect for me in finding out.

    But I am still cautious of some of the consequences that might arise. I'm not looking forward to awkward conversations with anyone.

    Has anyone else had a derp moment when their students accidentally found a photo they didn't mean for them to see? What might I possibly expect in the future from students and parents?

    My co-workers pretty much all know anyway.
     
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  3. MikeTeachesMath

    MikeTeachesMath Devotee

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    Totally just stalked the crap out of you and found the picture you mentioned. Honestly, it could be interpreted as a couple-y photo, or as two friends being stupid. So don't worry about that.

    I wish I had advice, but y'know, teaching musical theatre in New York... it's kind of expected :lol:.
     
  4. BumbleB

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    I have an intense uncomfortableness that comes along with students knowing my personal life. I talk about my dog, how I'm an only child, where I went to high school, etc. with my students when it's appropriate. But I really stay away from the dating/relationship side. Most of my students think I'm married, and I don't correct them haha.

    I would say just deflect any questions about your personal life and remind students that it's a private part of your life that you're not willing to discuss. I would watch comments about "licking you", that could be taken the wrong way by immature high schoolers :unsure:
     
  5. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Good point. :eek:hmy:
     
  6. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    Students ask me if one of my co-teachers is gay. Sometimes I ask them why they want to know. Sometimes I tell them to ask him. Sometimes I tell them it's rude to ask people personal questions.

    Some of mine have asked me why I was Mrs. last year and Ms. this year. I just say I'm no longer married. I'm not worried about photos online. I'm pretty boring.
     
  7. Poodle15

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    I'm still curious about my teachers. Growing up, none of my teachers ever talked about their personal life except occasionally a pet reference. Earlier this semester I had to email my math teacher and I addressed it to Mrs. H. When she replied she signed it Miss H. I'd never paid close attention but for some reason I thought of her as married. Sometimes I think about why she comes across as married and I've concluded it's part of how she behaves and carries herself: as one who is fully accomplished in her life and has done everything to be an "adult". I'd also like to add that she's probably very close to my age. I still have those "adult" and "not adult" ideas banging around in my head. I'm almost 30 and a mother and don't consider myself an adult because of how little I act like one and how little I've accomplished with my life.

    ... Uh, anyway, TL;DR: No matter what age you are, there are these authority figures who seem mysterious. It's fun to think about who they are when they're not teaching and what their life might be like. Hopefully it's not in a mean way and in my experience, it's never been.

    You're just too interesting, Peregrin!
     
  8. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Dec 13, 2012

    My thoughts exactly.
     
  9. Ms.SLS

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    I have students find me online all the time because I play music, and while my personal information is private, the music information is public (for obvious advertising reasons). So then, a few months into the school year, one kid googles my name, finds out I am in a band and then the wildfire of questions start.

    It's never been a problem for me, but it's of a different nature than your situation. I still doubt it will be a problem for you as long as you make sure to field all their comments and keep them out of your business.
     
  10. Ron6103

    Ron6103 Habitué

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    Interesting thread.... and one that strikes rather close to home. Such rumors have jumped around my school from time to time about me over the last few years, but nothing much beyond that. Now much like you, the rumors ARE true, and I do have a partner (no pictures online though). Unlike you however, I live and work in an exceptionally conservative area. I live in a portion of Illinois where the start of hunting season is a day off, Mitt Romney is a hero, and with a church on almost every large street.

    I deflect and dodge the topic of my persona life as often as possible. It's not easy here either because I work in a small town community where every teacher talks about their personal lives, even with students. I constantly hear stories from the kids about "Mrs. So-and-So's told us her husband did this..." and similar commentary. Most teachers also have pictures of their spouse and kids on their desk. But I continue to dodge the issue as best I can.

    If it ever actually came out in my school, I truly fear for my career. Yes, I'm tenured, so I wouldn't really lose my job. But kids, parents, and the community, can make my life a nightmare. Maybe I'm just being paranoid, but I'm sure some of you live and work in similar communities... you have my sympathy Peregrin. I don't have advice sadly: I don't know what I would do.
     
  11. DrivingPigeon

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    That's interesting that they said "fruity."

    I rarely ever mention my fiance. I talk about my cats and family, but I don't think they need to know a lot about my personal life. I have a co-worker who talks about her boyfriend ALL the time with her students. When he graduated college, she had the class make him cards. When he got a job, they made him cards. To me that's weird.
     
  12. YoungTeacherGuy

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    As you all know, I had a one-year-long stint at the middle school level last year. I was born and raised in a small town (and I teach in that town, too). My middle schoolers saw me out and about last year (at the mall, grocery store, downtown, restaurants, etc.) They'd normally say, "Oh, I saw you with your brother!" (which always made me chuckle--mainly because even though we're both Latino, we look nothing alike).

    However, I went to high school with the parents of one of last year's kiddos. One day, he came up to me and said (in a very concerned manner), "I have to tell you something bad." I said, "What is it?" He said, "Well...my mom said something awful about you. She said you're gay."

    He never asked me to confirm or deny what mom said--he just wanted me to know.

    Kinda gave me a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach, to tell you the truth. :(
     
  13. EMonkey

    EMonkey Connoisseur

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    In California about fifteen years ago (if I remember correctly) Alameda Unified tried to fire a teacher because she was a lesbian. They were not successful. In the state I would think most districts would not even try at this point. My impression is you could announce it discuss it send letters home to let families know and there would be nothing that can be done. I would be more cautious about the words you respond with though the joke about licking seems more of a potential legal problem to me than anything to do with your personal life.
     
  14. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    This thread is depressing. :(
     
  15. MikeTeachesMath

    MikeTeachesMath Devotee

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    Let's not forget the time a student openly called me a fa**ot in front of an entire math class.
     
  16. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    My sympathies are with you. That sounds like a much worse situation. The worst I can expect is that some 13 year olds will giggle about me behind my back, but hey, letting immature sexually confused awkward adolescents dictate my emotions about something like my sexuality is about the silliest thing I can think of.

    I'm sorry you live in a community like that, and yeah, those types of close-knit conservative communities are exactly the place where people expect you to share every little detail about your personal life, all the while chastising you for having the gall not to hide your own personal life better when you've taken every precaution to keep it secret.

    It's ridiculous that most teachers are allowed to have pictures of their family posted around their classroom, but we're too afraid to let it show because of what some kids or severely morally handicapped parents think.

    If a parent complained to the admin about a homosexual teaching their children and wanting to move her child, my VP, the P, every teacher in the school, and probably even the district would probably laugh in their face.
     
  17. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    To be honest, I rephrased the joke because I thought it sounded lame in my original telling. I actually only said "So they're saying I taste like fruit?"

    :eek:

    We laughed at the time but as I thought about it more, the more I face-palmed at how lame a reply that was and wanted to spice it up a bit more for the forum. Didn't work out the way I planned.
     
  18. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Yeah... That's kind of how I felt with this student. The whole "This is a horrible rumor and I just wanted to let you know" mentality kind of had me down, especially because this was a student who really really respects me. I was sad to think that he might lose that respect if he knew the truth.
     
  19. Curiouscat

    Curiouscat Comrade

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    I am sorry you have to hide your personal life. I am sorry people can't understand or accept that you are who you are, and there is nothing wrong with being who you are. I hope one day people become more accepting of others.:hugs:
     
  20. Curiouscat

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    The part about the kid saying my mom said something awful about you makes me feel that maybe the child didn't think mom saying that was very nice. If so, that gives me hope that kids are being raised a little more open minded than they were in the past.
     
  21. tchr4evr

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    I get this sometimes too

    I feel for you. I get this sometimes too, only mine is about religion. I am an atheist, and I work in a fairly religious area, so many people still think people that are atheist are trying to destroy God or are devil worshippers or whatever. I try not to mention it, and I try to avoid religious discussions at all costs, although in my curriculum I teach Paradise Lost and The Tyger and The Lamb, and we discuss Biblical and religious allusion quite often. It's only been an issue once when a parents of a student that failed my course decided that my being an atheist somehow influenced my treatment of her daughter--somehow I was penalizing her because of her religion. The parent even told my P that I shoudn't be teaching because of my beliefs--luckily, my P kind of blew it off (one of the few times)

    I have a gay friend who teaches kindergarten who has had parents request that their child be removed from his class because he might "corrupt" their children. And he works in a large metropolitan area, not a small town.

    It is sad that in the 21st century, with so much exposure to so much of the world, through media and all, that there are still people who cannot accept those that are different than them. I ha
     
  22. MissApple

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    To my understanding, while you cannot be fired for race, religion, gender, age, disability etc, there is no direct legal protection based on sexual orientation. There may be some on a state-by-state level, but people do need to be careful.

    It's an unfortunate situation and hopefully that will be rectified once the supreme court starts hearing cases based on sexual orientation, which I believe may be happening this coming year?
     
  23. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    I will admit that I do talk about Rockhubby on occasion, but that's mostly because he's a science / math geek. My students who hate English think it's cool that I've picked up some math and geology learning for his sake.

    That being said, I DO hide aspects of myself. None of my current students know I am Jewish. Honestly, I never tell a student unless her or she is also Jewish and tells me first, usually because of needing time off for a holy day. Some of my students and their parents might balk at being taught by a non-Christian teacher. My school may be a public one, but many are with me to be away from the secular nature of a traditional school. I have definitely heard passing comments that have bitten at me the way anti-LGBT comments would bite at those who must keep part of their lives quiet. It isn't fair. It isn't right. It is the way it is, at least for now.
     
  24. stephenpe

    stephenpe Connoisseur

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    My district is bible belt and conservative but working with a gay lady for many many years I never heard anyone make an issue of it. I feel strongly that teacher's private lives are nobody's business as long as they are not breaking the law. I could care less what my child's teacher looks like or does at home as long as she cares about kids and does her job. I really feel for gay teachers because they know it only takes one @^%$#%@ to make their lives bad. My mom was gay so I can relate some.
    btw, my wife bought our son a new Archie Comic (they are like little books now). After 10 minutes or so my son brought it into the living room asking why this character named Kevin in the story (also my son's name) said he was gay. Archie has now introduced a new gay character in his comic. So had to explain to my Kevin what the deal was there and what gay meant. (he is 8 years old).
     
  25. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    I think that if you don't feel comfortable sharing an aspect about your life then you have the right not to. Your personal life truly is not any of their business so I think you did the right thing.
     
  26. microbe

    microbe Comrade

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    When I first started subbing, I made a huge, huge mistake about sharing my personal life.

    I was subbing for my fiance's step-father, and I told the kids that I know their teacher. When they asked how, I told them the truth. Since then, they've been calling me Mrs. Fiance's-Father's-Last-Name. This is extremely humiliating because not only do I feel like the students are disrespecting me I also feel like I embarrassed the teacher.

    I definitely learned my lesson from this experience. I had a serious lapse in judgement!
     
  27. jen12

    jen12 Devotee

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    When I was in middle school, way back in the eighties before we had smart phones or the internet to share everything, I had a teacher who parents to the other kids at school claimed was gay. At the time, I really didn't care. Fast forward to twenty-plus years and he is a FB friend of mine, and yes...he is gay. My point is...so what? It had nothing to do with his ability to teach. I don't know what kid of rumours he had to deal with back at a time when it was less accepted than it is now, but I'm sure it wasn't easy.

    For your part, you seem to have handled it well. Just tell them that you don't discuss your personal life with students. End of discussion.
     
  28. Linguist92021

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    I have learned through my daughter who's 15 (and have seen in it schools myself) that usually news past 3 days are old-news and no one cares about them.
    If you don't feed into it, just say something like you did, and not make a big deal out of it, the kids forget it and won't even care.
    It's probably not a big deal for most of them, if you acted upset, etc., THAT would be a big deal for them.
     
  29. Em_Catz

    Em_Catz Devotee

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    I'm so glad to hear that you've got a supportive community. Even still, I understand how you would want that part of your life to be private. I am heterosexual, but I still don't want my parents and students knowing all the details of my romantic life.

    I'd feel uncomfortable if my kids saw a picture of my boyfriend and I online and some of the things we enjoy in our non-work lives became fodder (it's not that we're ashamed of our interests, it's just not their business!)
     
  30. Ima Teacher

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    We had a parent call the school to ask to have the child moved because they didn't want their child to have "the lesbian math teacher". The funny part is that they talked about how much they love the science teacher, who was gay.
     
  31. Ms. I

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    I don't talk about my personal life at all. People can work with me for yrs & not know anything about me. I'm the only person of my position on any given campus, so I don't have the need to collaborate with any teachers & never eat in the lounge, so that pretty much cuts out them knowing my personal business.
     
  32. ecteach

    ecteach Devotee

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    I think you handled this wonderfully. No one should talk to their students about their relationships. Just tell them that straight up.
     
  33. PolarBear

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    I agree. Stating the obvious, young teens love to bring up topics just to see if they can embarass you, or better yet, get a reaction out of you. This conversation came up in my classroom one day about another teacher in our school. Something along the lines of "Mr. Bear, I heard so-and-so was gay. Do you know if that's true?" My answer went along the lines of "as you get older and more experienced, you'll find out that things are often not what they seem. What you'll really learn is not to make assumptions about people because of the way they talk, dress, or act. You'll be wrong as often as not." Kiddo thought about that for a few seconds and walked off.
     
  34. HistTchr

    HistTchr Habitué

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    I share very little of my personal life with my students. I try to keep my school life and my personal life separate. Kids will always make rumors, though. I'm not married and have no kids, yet another teacher in my department came to me laughing a couple of weeks ago because he overheard two kids talking about their teachers and mentioning how I'm married with two kids.

    Here's the best one--about seven years ago we got a new principal at our school. One day, she was having a conversation with one of my coworkers about their families, and my coworker mentioned that her husband was British. The principal was absolutely confused, and said, "Wait, I thought you were married to HistTchr?" She saw the two of us together so much (because we both co-advise the yearbook and teach the same courses) that she just assumed we were married, too! :lol:
     
  35. vivalavida

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    Dec 18, 2012

    :agreed:
     

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