“Life is meant to be a never-ending education, and when this is fully appreciated, we are no longer survivors but adventurers.” (David McNally, Even Eagles Need a Push)
At last we have reached the end of our track. Today is the day we focus on self-care because in order to do this work, we must have the ability to often function at a high level, and that high level takes a lot of energy and time. Even when we don't want to take care of ourselves, we need to take care of ourselves.
Our last vidcast is with Sherri Spelic, who is one of the best folks to talk to us about self-care. Her book Care at the core: Conversational essays on identity, education and power (2019) is completely worth the read. Below are some quotes from her book (along with my exposition) that I think sum up this week beautifully.
“I cannot go unnoticed.
I cannot float under the radar.
I cannot not be seen.
Being able to choose visibility
and which damn to give
are privileges of the few.”
(What Happened When I Went to School with My Hair Out, p. 58)
Invisibility is a privilege, particularly held by those of us who are white. Our students from oppressed groups need for us, their instructors, to humanize them - to lift them off the page of the spreadsheet into 4-dimensional beings - so that they can have the same privilege we already have. All of our students should be visible to us, but their level of visibility should be their own choice.
“In other words, my writing - tweeting, blogging, curating, publishing - are forms of call and response, call and response. I do believe that you can write your way out of ignorance.” (p. 70)
Where does ignorance end? I think it ends where we genuinely listen to our students, peers, etc. from oppressed groups and perhaps hear them for the first time. It ends where we do the work to educate ourselves on our own biases and work to eliminate them or own them fully. Ignorance ends where we bring our activism to the classroom and truly make teaching the radical act it was always meant to be.
“If we want audience, then we must first and foremost be audience. We need to read widely and astutely. We need to pause as we read the work of others - and become permeable. Being an audience means letting others into our worlds, leaving space for the sparring and dancing of ideas.” (p. 66)
Permeability and transparency are foundations of critical pedagogy. We must be willing to move with our students and help them where they are, not where we'd like them to be. Can we accomplish this in one day? Of course not. But can we decide on a few things we'd like to change for next semester that *hopefully* result in a more compassionate and understanding foundation in the classroom? Yes, yes we can.
“I am liberty to make use of my own superpowers. I am a learner of outrageous potential. There is no reason to believe that I cannot do what no one expects.” (p. 78)
The tools we use to implement critical pedagogy and open pedagogy are ones that we can employ now or later in our classroom. But our power exists in our powerful to believe in ourselves, our community, and our willingness to be transparent about our pedagogical process - not only with our students but also our peers and, most of all, ourselves.
We are learners of outrageous potential. We have no reason to expect that we cannot change the trajectory of STEM-H instruction using what we've learned this week and what we will learn as we continue on this journey together.
On that note, as we are winding up our time, and it has been an absolutely delightful week. THANK YOU for registering, participating, and being a part of this week. It has truly been my pleasure to interact with you all as you could interact in the course. Your contributions have been brilliant and I highly encourage you to share them elsewhere as well so that others can benefit from your contributions as well.
Our synchronous session yesterday was a really great discussion about labs, and the link to the recording is here. Implementing critical pedagogy in lab courses is not easy, but it isn't impossible either, and many excellent suggestions were shared on how to make this happen more effectively. Thanks to all who participated in this, and the other synchronous sessions this week.
Ok, now for some housekeeping. We have access to Ghost and Discourse indefinitely (for Discourse it's indefinitely ish because the CU Denver servers actually hold the site and if it grows too big it'll be nixed). So we have a Slack Channel and the invite is here: https://join.slack.com/t/dpl2020stem-hcdptrack/shared_invite/zt-ga42fr0y-fffXn6wH5E_ZucVkhFPF1A. The google drive DPL folder will be available for the next 3 months at least and perhaps longer, but since it's on my google drive, I'm not sure how long I can promise it will stay open. So please get what you need from that drive sooner rather than later. Our last Hypothes.is article is still available for annotation and you're welcome to annotate it or just read it as you like.
The plan for the day is here: https://stem.dpl.online/day-6/. The DPL master plan google doc is in the Google Drive, which also houses all of the non-open articles for the week, and is found here.