A Teaching Moment

DNAinfo Chicago has a story on longtime Chicago Public Schools teacher Jeff Rowell, who teaches math and science to 5th and 6th graders at Murray Language Academy in Hyde Park, and has recently come out as transgender:

People at the school have already noticed changes in her physical appearance, which became more pronounced this school year. Rowell started painting her nails. She doesn’t wear a wig and avoids skirts and heels — ‘you can’t teach in heels,’ she said — but she started wearing women’s slacks, jeans and shirts, which fit better than men’s clothes after she started hormones. Her skin started noticeably changing, too. Recently, a group of fourth-graders murmured among themselves as Rowell worked at a copy machine, chattering ‘Is that a boy or a girl?’ she recalled. ‘That’s the wonderful thing about kids. They’re so honest,’ Rowell said.

Though Rowell will soon go by the name “Jess Scott Celimene-Rowell,” students still call her “Mr. Rowell.”

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