This fall semester, I finally went back to teaching. If you've followed my posts on facebook or twitter, you've seen my posts about how much I love teaching. But I wonder if I've explained well WHY I love it so much.
Teaching is a gift. I get to share a space with my students where we get to explore the world we live in, find ways to challenge the information we receive, and constantly engage with each other and ourselves, question our realities, and embrace our agency in creating change in our new world.
My students are brilliant. No, they are not perfect, but it is not my job to judge their perfection. My job is to see their brilliance and reflect it back to them. My job is to give them the space to explore their own intelligence, curiosities, and wisdom. To think about their own lives, to explore their own identities, to realize they ARE a bigger deal than they are told, and to OWN that power for themselves and learn about how to be responsible to the rest of the world for this knowledge, this wisdom, and this critical role in our creation. No, I'm not stroking their ego. I am hoping to open a space where we face the world we live in realistically--both accepting the faults and chips in the painting, and understanding we can shape it. We hold the pen that writes it, we hold the brush that paints it.
So my biggest hope after my course is that my students understand that their words have value, their voice is power, and their thoughts are important.
Yes, I teach the mechanics of writing. But the reason I teach that is so my students will have the tools to go out into the world and make their voices heard and their spirits soar.
Teaching is an exercise in exponentially growing strength of heart and mind.
THIS is why I love teaching.
Today, (thank you, Slate.com), I showed this video in class. We discussed it and opened our eyes to the power and influence that writers have in the world we see and live in. Today, I told my students, "one day, you will be writing those Hollywood shows. Now we understand these truths. Now we can make change."
For a version of that potential change, check out Julio Salgado's version of some favorite TV sitcoms if people of color were more present in the writers' rooms.