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Emotions and Readings

Hummingbird's picture

I'm going to be completely frank here (and probably expose myself as a bit of an emotional mess) but I teared up multiple times while reading Delpit's "Multiplication is for White People." I felt so inspired and so empowered by her highlighting of good teachers – "warm demanders" – and it brought back memories of teachers who did that very work for me. I'm also having a really meta moment: recognizing that I'm pushing myself to stay awake now to post this instead of going to sleep and doing it in the morning out of my respect for Jody as a professor (still coming in late –– but hoping my presense at both the Race and Diversity Town Hall and Toni Morrison's talk at Swarthmore this evening act as a reasonable excuses!). In the same way that students in Delpit's writing were willing to be pushed and to push themselves, I've found myself voluntarily doing more work and spending more time in courses where I know my professor or teacher really cared about my learning and my identity as a whole person. And I appreciate this meta-cognitive moment for my learning.

In another acknowledgement of some growing self-awareness, this reading was the first time I really recognized how much social and cultural capital my high school friends and I had when we shared with each other that we did  well "in spite" of our teachers sometimes, and not always "because of" them. This acknowledgement reminds me both of the privilege with which some of us entered the classroom and of the awareness we had of which teachers were "good" and which were "bad" –- and this ability to recognize and name reasons for "good" and "bad" teaching strikes me as particularly important. I'm inspired by the potential students have to help teachers to improve and wonder whether more opportunities for student feedback for teachers should be brought into primary and secondary education (as we have here at Bryn Mawr with mid- and end of semester feedback, for example).