Lessons learned or relearned

Last week I had some realizations or reminders that I thought I'd share here in the form of a list. At present, they're just floating around in my head, but maybe they'll seem more connected once I finish writing them out in one place. Here we go:

1. Don't try to shove a three-hour training session into a 90-minute class period. No time to really think about concepts introduced or to discuss idea, thoughts, and opinions that come up for the participants. For the record, I realized this as a participant, so I'm making a commitment to avoid making the same mistake as a facilitator in the future. I almost always over plan for a given time frame, and this experience verified that less is definitely more.

2. Culturally responsive pedagogy requires flexibility, sensitivity, and open mindedness. It also requires a willingness to throw out an idea that seemed great at first, but ultimately doesn't meet the goals of the teaching or the needs of the students.

3. I don't drink enough water. Members of my family gave me a hard time about it this weekend. So on Monday I started trying to drink more water. It's tough on my productivity, as I'm at my desk less, but I have to admit that after two days, I already feel like I have more energy. My coffee intake is down, and I'm sleeping better. So far. Could be a placebo effect, but I'm willing to continue the hydration experiment to see what happens.

4. I want to do a better job of providing students with examples of plays by and about people of color. I feel like I've been conscious of this for a number of years now, and I incorporate examples of these plays into my classes whenever I can. However, I think there's more that I can do. Many of my students go on to teach in public schools with racially and ethnically diverse populations, and they need more access to repertoire that reflects their student populations. I feel like this is partly their responsibility to do the research and read plays, but I've learned that they often have no idea where to begin. Either I need to write a new course that deals specifically with repertoire by and about people of color, or I need to find a way to integrate more examples of that repertoire into already existing courses and experiences. The first step is creating a bibliography of texts that I already have on my shelves that I can share with students as a resource. Then I'll move forward from there.

5. The concept of privilege as it relates to social justice work has multiple layers based on personal experiences, the context within which the concept is being explored or discussed, and the rigidity of interpretation. Defining privilege as "unearned advantage" is fine, but that definition needs ample unpacking and space for people to recognize where and when they are privileged and where and when they may not be privileged. Oversimplifying the concept does not help generate more empathy, understanding, or acceptance for the concept.

So there's a theme here, minus the water point. Or maybe that's related as well.  More energy to do work that's really important to me.