Today was the first day of class for my new course on memory. It was interesting (I think/hope) and we should be tackling some really fun issues over the semester.
In this course (as I think I said once before — all blurs…) I’m requiring all my students to set up and maintain a WordPress blog. It can be about anything they want, but I feel it a useful enterprise to engage in an intentional memory act that doesn’t, necessarily, seem like it is one at the time you’re doing it.
I also outed myself as I decided to let them all know about my blog (not surprising, I suppose, since the reason I started it was because I was planning to make them do one and figured it was only appropriate to not make them do anything I wouldn’t do myself).
So here I am writing all about religion, politics (damn, except for sex I’ve covered the Big 3 of things not to talk about…my gut instinct is to say “give me time” but I think I shant go there…) And these are things I’m sure some (many?) of my students will disagree with me on. Should be interesting…
When I first started teaching I was so concerned that my views would taint the classroom experience that I nearly bent over backward to keep anyone from knowing where I actually stood on any topic. At the end of that first semester, my students said I has created a comfortable, safe space where people with all sorts of beliefs could share their thoughts without fear of reprisal. Some said they actually had no idea what my views were.
My first reaction was to pat myself on the back for doing what I’d hoped to do — not squash students’ beliefs because I didn’t share them.
And then I felt like crap. Had I really created a comfortable and safe space if I wasn’t comfortable and didn’t feel safe sharing my views as well?
I pride myself on being (or at least trying to be) the kind of person and instructor who allows for all sorts of views, beliefs, etc. That doesn’t mean I accept them all — or even that I don’t push back against some of them — but that I strongly feel that people have a right to their own opinions. What matters, though, is that they are able to articulate them, to think critically about them and where they came from, and are open to changing them if faced with information that points to that result.
And so here I am posting about things that make it pretty clear where I stand on some key issues (hell, just looking at my tag cloud covers a lot of it. And more is covered because I’m not talking about how Rudy Giuliani lost me vote. Hah! I think I may be ill). It will be interesting seeing where this takes us all as we move forward with the semester…I’ll let you know…