Though we all have to teach the â€œsameâ€ course in terms of the structure of the writing assignments and learning objectives, the content is up to us….
Since the learning objectives are about arguing and writing, I want them to argue and write about things that theyâ€™ll find . . . well, fun.
In the classroom, I try the best I can to flatten the power hierarchy. Of course I know that there are always extreme explicit and implicit power differentials at play, but we talk about them openly. I also talk about my role as a grad student, about the work I do, about how even I miss deadlines. They understand that I understand that the end of the semester is busy for everyone, and that we all have other things to attend to besides this class, but we still have to do it. Besides humanizing meâ€”not always an easy taskâ€”the other upside is that they cut me a little slack if Iâ€™m late getting papers back.
In class, Iâ€™m fully invested, not only mentally, but bodily. I flail a bit more than I should, shout for emphasis, and generally run about the room like a maniac when it will make a point. In my class I have no shame and the kids know it. If I can embarrass myself a bit, they might be less afraid of embarrassing themselves.
…I always come to class early and talk to the students as they come in.