This post is an excellent example of how disorganized, disoriented, and below-top-efficiency I’ve been all month: I wrote it on November 14, but didn’t have access to wi-fi when I wrote it, and didn’t return to WordPress to publish it till today, 9 nine days later. Sigh.
I had hoped to do so much more writing this month. The silver lining, I suppose, is that I don’t have to stop writing on November 30; I also have the whole week off, so I should be able, finally (fingers crossed), to vanquish the beast of a virus (or brilliant collaborative team of viruses) that has plagued my immune system for several weeks. Seriously, this virus has stamina.
From November 14:
Cynthia Sanchez and I have continued our conversation via text message, and the other day she offered another excellent question:
“What goals do you find yourself working towards on a daily basis? And how can you incorporate people in this goals, while also honoring their own visions and constantly looking for ways to find overlap?”
She posed this question in response to my remarking that the next major stage in my growth as a learner and leader would need to involve learning how to build capacity instead of trying to take on every task myself, and that my next step would be to figure out where I can pare down my responsibilities.
To answer her question, I would say that my over-arching goals are to be a “bridge-builder” who connects students to resources, as well as wanting to create – or perhaps co-create – democratic learning spaces where I can learn alongside students instead of using a “banking” approach. (I don’t ever intentionally teach this way, but I know that I revert to the coercion model–the system I grew up in as a K-12 student and was trained in as a beginning teacher–when I am not intentional about co-learning and sharing power.)
Another goal – but one that I do not spend a lot of time on – is to work toward social justice. I want not only to help students reach college, but also to be part of creating a society where the same kids don’t pay three times what I paid in tuition just 15 years ago. I want to prepare them for careers, but I also want them to find a job market that allows them to begin those careers in the first place: to fight to make sure that horrific policies like free trade and corporate welfare don’t destroy the job market before my kids can enter it. In other words, I want to align my teaching practice to my vision of a socially just world.
So a couple of questions arise: 1) How can I spend more time working on this vision of social justice? (Sustainability & environmental justice might play into this – local sources of food, e.g., community gardens; solar power on campus; avoiding water waste). 2) How can I re-focus my current roles (e.g., SSC) to create democratic learning spaces? 3) What activities are not supporting my goals, and how can I “divest” from these activities without being negligent or creating problems for other members of the community?
Over the next couple of weeks, I’m going to take an inventory of how I spend my work day, and try to create a workable routine that will help me do what I’m currently committed to more efficiently – and then examine what I can move away from, and how I might do that in a responsible way.