Y’all, I’m so tired in all the ways a human being can be tired. The change of seasons and this Brett Kavanaugh bullshit has got me exhausted and the only thing I’ve been doing for days–when I’m awake–is trying to find little things that don’t make me miserable. So, you know, I rewatched all of “The Good Place.”
I have, noticeably, stepped away from our Septemeber series on teaching. Every day I wake up and tell myself, “Write about how to teach intersectionality today. It’s more important than ever with all of this BS going on.” And every day I wind up eating cookies and watching Sailor Moon to not think about the interesting times we live in.
If I learned one thing in my teaching career it’s that it can be incredibly powerful to bring your whole self to the classroom.
Of course, you shouldn’t do anything that you’re uncomfortable with but the quickest way to build trust in the classroom is to be vulnerable there–to model how to connect lived experience with classroom concepts.
If you, like me, are struggling right now–struggling to get out of bed, struggling to teach, struggling to exist–then I would encourage you to take that into the classroom. Chances are, a lot of your students are struggling as well and would appreciate a chance to talk about it.
We hear a lot these days about how our digital spaces are increasingly becoming echo chambers because of our ability to mute or block people who have differing views. Because of this, our classrooms have become even more important cultural spaces. They are places where students are taught how to critically evaluate their opinions while also interacting with people who have different views and different life experiences. This can be incredibly important.
I know it certainly was for me when I was a young, extremely conservative student.
So, in light of all of this, I have just a few resources to share. The first category are things that help us get up and do shit. The second category are some teaching resources for your classroom.
Stuff That Makes Me Hate the World a Little Bit Less:
Stuff to Encourage Class Discussion, Hopefully:
Safe Spaces–I love this piece for explaining safe spaces to students: what they are, what they aren’t, why folks need them, and how they work. (Bonus Points if you can guide your students towards understanding that “man caves” are safe spaces for white men.)
Jokes Seth Can’t Tell–I love this regular segment on Late Night with Seth Meyers for introducing an example of people owning intersectional identities and how in-group and out-group language works.
Growing Up Poor–If you’re teaching in the US then it’s going to be incredibly hard to get your students to acknowledge, let alone talk about, class. I use comedy clips almost every class period to get things started and this one is, far and away, the perennial favorite. It can also spark some good dialogue about class differences.
Potato or Nazi–My favorite way to start a conversation about imperialism and cultural appropriation.