Since November of 2015, I’ve been working on a story project about my teaching life. By this October, I had finished two-thirds of it: 1. I am a Teacher!, about my past life as a formal professor, and 2. I was a Teacher., about recovering from my loss of passion for teaching and my exploration of new ways to be. I planned to write the third part, Am I still a teacher?, about imagining new ways to be a teacher, before the end of 2016. Then the election happened and I found myself struggling to write. Doubts about my project and whether or not it makes sense or has any value intensified as I was forced to confront what I already knew but was, before November 8th, able to ignore, or at least push aside: the system is fucked (and fucked up). I could say more about what I mean here and hopefully will soon, but if I try right now, I won’t ever get to the actual point of this post.
This struggle has got me stuck and compelled me to wrestle with some new haunting questions. How do I respond to the fucked-up-ness of it all? What can I, as someone who has studied oppression, feminist movement and resistance for 20 years and has a Ph.D in troublemaking, offer to others? These questions are very difficult and without easy answers, but they are urgent and necessary and might help me to respond to and move beyond the question that prompted me to begin this project in the first place but that now seems too self-centered and unimportant.
Not, Am I still a Teacher? but How can I (best/most effectively) be a Teacher?
Today, in mid December, just days before the electoral college officially votes, I want to shift away from the question, am I a teacher?, to, how can I be a teacher in ways that enable me to use my skills to help others (and myself) to resist, refuse, reimagine and reclaim? One tentative answer: by crafting a resource guide (in syllabus form) for how to stay in trouble. I’ve already started collecting resources in Staying in Trouble: Post Election.