Week 5

Oh, sigh. How are we going to talk about grading– which is a pressing subject!– when the vileness of our political situation is so pressing, too?

I don’t know about you, but I had a hard time getting anything done yesterday, and today isn’t much better. And on Tuesday, I think we might still be asking this question: How are we supposed to move along with the work of the day (which is, imho, work on the right side of history) when we might rightly want to riot/strike/riot/cry/yell/go back to bed?

These are questions that you will confront in your classes, too, and by the looks of things lately, the world will put them to you with some regularity. So it’s right as well as inevitable that we should confront them here, too.

We have just begun to talk about the ways our classroom practice is shaped by chronic political problems like the structural violence of institutional racism, for example, and the casualization of academic labor. We will continue to talk about those things. And we’ll also want and need to talk about the best ways to teach amid political crises that happen in real time, as they do.

And as we talk about this, I still want to talk about grading. This week isn’t the last time we’ll talk about it, so we don’t need to complete the conversation (and we couldn’t, anyway). Let’s just make sure to get your biggest questions, concerns, insights, and anxieties about this on the table so we can prioritize the right things as we continue to talk.

As you look ahead to your first round of papers, what questions do you anticipate, and how do the articles for this week alter them? What insights seem valuable, and what do you want to make sure to raise in this discussion?

Also, remember: I’m going to ask you next week to give me a draft of a student paper that we could all read and discuss, so keep an eye out (when you get your first drafts) for a paper that challenges your ability to comment on it productively. And ask your students for their permission to share their papers for this kind of faculty development.

With best wishes & solidarity 4-eva,


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