Teaching is a place of transgression and transformation.
Those of us who have had a non-traditional and non-linear journey into academia know that teaching is where radical change happens.
Teaching from the place of pain and trauma, rather than merely to them, is an emotionally-grueling endeavour. It is a labour of love and it bears witness to the suffering of others.
I am always so thankful that my journey into the social sciences did not come from the dead white cannon.
‘The academy is not paradise. But learning is a place where paradise can be created. The classroom, with all its limitations, remains a location of possibility. In that field of possibility we have the opportunity to labour for freedom…to transgress’ (hooks, 1994).
Through teaching I have the privilege and the joy of imagining new ways of ‘doing’. I watch students tear apart weak assertions and sneer as we read through misogynistic judgement. Through my role in facilitating learning I see the possibilities of (re)imagining the academy and the world.
There is no work more urgent than teaching.
I have written elsewhere that “My impact will not be measured by metrics and other arbitrary middle-class measurements. It will be measured by how many others I pull up behind me. I am not an insecure mediocre gatekeeper. I long for change and a radically (re)imagined academy. Cite working-class women. Create trauma-informed practice and spaces. Platform the excluded. Have a genuine commitment to widening participation. Propose more visual and arts-based journals and books. Every time you try and shut us out we rise. We are on fire for this”.
Thank you to bell hooks and thank you to every student.