Finding Work as a Trans Person 08.07.17
A second week of part-time teaching work passed on Friday, and already, it's not about being trans. I enter the classroom, the lesson begins, and I am from planet teacher. The students are nice, and everything is about them, not me.
I always wondered how it would be as a trans-female teacher. Last year I experienced a few false starts, beginning with a week's stint at a cowboy school, doing academic admin, with a Sunset Boulevard line-manager. I lasted a week. The line-manager seemed threatened that I might not be impressed by her all-talk and bitching, not to mention her phone slamming down on complaining customers (three times on my first morning, as it happens). It's true that I failed to show sympathy to her bitching about teachers.
Her: They complain about not being paid on time. Don't they realize how much work I've got?
Me: To be fair the teachers have a right to be paid on time-
Her: And I have a right to complain about them if I want to.
One year on and I have a foot in the door of two top professional places here in Edinburgh, as I teach adults. The work will peter out in September, but it's not about money. It's the evidence in your hands, as your grasp your lesson plan, that you will survive, that normality can be yours.
Still, I think about that first job last year, in academic admin, at the cowboy school. I tried picturing a future back then, and all I could see was a lurching from one worst-case-scenario to the next, at the whim of a bully who's seen better days, and they're desperate to show you how hard they can be, and you with no contract and at their mercy:
Her: Let's see how it goes. Or: We'll have that contract sorted today or tomorrow.
And then: It's just not working out, there's something about you, you're not quite focused in the way I like.
But I've done everything you asked me.
But you didn't do everything I didn't ask you.
It's only my second day, I didn't realize you also wanted me to do that thing you didn't tell me.
Call it a feeling, but I know it's just not going to work out between us. I have a sense for these things. You can stay until Friday.Sadly/Happily, I have no such recollections at my two new schools, it's all too professional for dialogue from a dystopian fantasy. Still, I'm writing this because if you're coming out as trans and don't have a job, you may feel vulnerable, or might just experience what I went through, or worse. But stick with it, and by it, I mean, never give up on yourself. Because if my experience is anything to go by, you'll find somewhere worthy of yourself eventually, and those bad experiences and those unkind people become nothing more than the stuff of anecdotes, funny, weird, like something from a nightmare that you wake up from.