Vocational Awe, Resilience, and The Instructor - Fobazi Ettarh
29 April 2021
Jill King: Thank you Tish, I'm Jill King from the Depaul University Library, thank you all for joining us this morning. We're so honored to welcome Fobazi Ettahr to the Information Literacy Summit for today's keynote address. I will briefly introduce her and then I’ll let her get started.
Fobazi Ettahr is currently the Undergraduate Success Librarian at Rutgers Newark. A school librarian by training, she specializes in information literacy instruction, K-12 pedagogy, and co-curricular outreach. She created and defined the concept of vocational awe in the article “Vocational Awe and Librarianship: The Lies We Tell Ourselves” published in In the Library with the Lead Pipe.
Her research is concerned with relationships and tensions between the espoused values of librarianship and the realities present in the experiences of marginalized Librarians and users. She's created curriculum-based graded assignments in the K-12 and higher education settings and worked extensively with facilitating groups of Librarians in creating specialized standards and rubrics for graded assignments.
Her work has also been published in the Critical Library Pedagogy Handbook and in Knowledge Justice: Disrupting Library and Information Studies Through Critical Race Theory. Please join me now in welcoming Fobazi Ettarh to the Summit.
Fobazi Ettarh: Good morning, everyone and Thank you all for being here, especially so early in the morning it's well I guess it's 930 here in Chicago. But I’m not a morning person and it's Friday, so it might as well be for how it feels towards me. so again, thank you all so much for joining me here on a Friday morning, and thank you for the introduction, thank you, Tish Thank you all of the organizers who made this conference possible.
We all know that it is a lot of work to put together at a conference, especially with Just everything I mean it would be hard to draft doing it remotely without doing it remotely during a pandemic and doing it, while there are looming questions over all of our heads in terms of vaccinations when it's safe when the libraries are opening all that and more, and so I really appreciate all of you for putting this together, giving us the chance to talk.
The presentation - I guess I should have asked this earlier. Should... do I share the slides or Tish, do you share the slides?
Tish Hayes: You can share the slides if that's easier for you to be able to move through them.
Fobazi Ettarh: Okay, all right, so I will share my screen. Everyone see the screen?
Tish Hayes: Looks great.
Fobazi Ettarh: Alright.
Thank you, so my title of my presentation is Vocational Awe, Resilience, and The Instructor. So, here are some of the places that you can find me again, my name is Fobazi Ettarh. yeah I’m always on Twitter. My website is there for more long-form texts and blog posts and, finally, if for some reason we don't get to your question in the Q&A or if you just have follow-up things that you'd like to ask and share with me please feel free to email me at my email address.
This was new and so It was only announced, I think, last week, or perhaps the week before, but I will be starting my Ph.D. program at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign at their I-School come fall semester. And so I am here in Illinois to stay for at least the foreseeable future, and so it's great to be a part of this community and to be hopefully sharing my scholarship with libraries for many years to come.
And so, before we begin.
Obviously, as we start to talk about vocational awe, as we start to talk about resilience, as we start to talk about all of the pandemic, all of these things, it can definitely cause discomfort. I ask that you embrace it. Um, discomfort means that we're all learning something, just like growing pains right? Discomfort means that what is happening is progress. And so I’d ask you all to embrace whatever the emotion is rather than potentially stopping that growth, stopping that progress by rejecting it. Which leads me to my next rule as it were, which is “feelings are great but actions are better.“
So, as I said, discomfort is a very common reaction to conversations around vocational awe. Vocational awe, especially underpins the... like the structure, the very core of librarianship and so as we start to dismantle it, it can feel like the world is coming down around you and so … conversations around feelings conversations around defensiveness can very quickly do rail conversations important conversations towards growth, towards progress. I would never, of course, say, not to feel those feelings, they're totally valid. What I would ask is that you try and take a step back from tlihe feelings and think about what are the actionable items that you can create to move the feelings towards a more constructive conversation.
Alright. So, let's begin with The Instructor, and the library classroom as it were. Most of us here have done instruction in some ways, whether it be the one-shot, whether it be doing a credential class, whether it be doing outreach and programming. Libraries, at its core, a lot of the duties around libraries have to deal with instruction in some kind.
And so, when it comes to instructional programming - this is from the Guidelines for Instruction Programs in Academic Libraries on ACRL - so, “academic libraries work to participate in, support, and achieve the educational mission of their institutions by teaching the core competencies of information literacy.”
And here, of course, some of the core competencies when it comes to info lit “identifying an information need, accessing information, evaluating, … and applying information, and” often most importantly “understanding the legal, social, and ethical aspects of information use.”
And so, while not all of us here may work at academic libraries, I would surely agree that the public library does similar work, right? We are trying to participate and achieve education of our communities through using these core competencies of information literacy.
And so here's what I would define as the mission and when it comes to instruction and information dissemination, right? Support the educational objective of the institution, teach the core competencies of information literacy, and engender an ability and desire for lifelong learning.
You know, for the most part, that seems pretty innocuous, right? Regardless of the libraries, that we are in, we are always trying to engender that sense and desire for lifelong learning and teach information literacy. However, what often happens as we're trying to achieve this mission is this: instructors are treated like secretaries, precarity of labor and overwork are common. and instruction programs are held together with spit and glue, right? Whether we are interacting with faculty who try and book us for instruction sessions two, three hours before the class starts, whether it's the fact that adjuncts, graduate students, and other, many early career and other sort of precarious people on the organizational chart and, in general, are the ones doing and majority of instruction across libraries.
And these programs are being - again, I mean, it's self explanatory - held together would spit and glue. They're being held together with what is becoming, and has been known as grit and resilience.
So, the “Do More with Less Phenomenon” is a very common thing in librarianship not just instruction, but in librarianship as a whole, and I would say in many industries outside of librarianship as well. And so what does it mean to do more less, what does it mean to drive these programs with resilience and grit?
So, the APA defines resilience as “the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats, or significant sources of stress - such as family and relationship problems, serious health problems, or workplace and financial stressors. It means bouncing back from difficult experiences.”
I would say that a global pandemic, as well is a an international reckoning with white supremacy in America, in these various institutions, whether it be policing, education, librarianship - definitely counts as trauma, tragedy - so that's - and, or significant sources of stress. And so we are all dealing with massive trauma, massive adversity, that in many cases, our institutions are expecting us to just bounce back from.
I would definitely look up Eamon’s work when it comes specifically to grit and resilience in librarianship. He has done amazing presentations and publications around this subject. I mean this alone could be, and has been, its own presentation, its own publication, and so, while I don't want to spend too much time on it, I would suggest everyone search and look through his work.
And so when we're talking about grit and resilience, especially when it comes to libraries and librarianship, we're focusing on a deficit model of education. Any failure that happens is due to internal deficits which affects students and instructors, right?
So, when a class doesn't go well it's not - according to the deficit model of education - it is because the students in some ways, have failed, whether they are seen as not smart enough not experienced enough not whatever enough, and also the instructors are seen as the reason for failures, whether it be they didn't teach the concept enough, they scaffold enough, they didn’t explain well enough, whatever it might be.
And so during this, using this deficit model of education, having a growth mindset is also seen as vital to successful instruction. Whether it be the actual classroom experience or the, at the programmatic level. And so what does this growth mindset mean? It means that, even though there is a deficit, which of course as we've mentioned is due to interpersonal failures, you can have this growth mindset and through that become better. The growth mindset is focused again on the individual, on the interpersonal. Any failure or achievement that happens is through the interpersonal lens, it's through the local lens. And the growth that happens is due to growth mindset, rather than the actual people involved in instruction.
So, What are the problems with grit and resilience? Well, any and all problems are caused through into personal interactions.It ignores systemic inequality and injustices, and the burden always falls on those who are most marginalized, whether it be the adjunct who is working five-five workloads on 20- 30,000 a year; whether it is the marginalized student who, throughout the K-12 experience didn't have the strong basis of knowledge and privilege that their wealthier, whiter counterparts had; and it falls on library instructors who oftentimes if we're talking about the academic sense may or may not be considered faculty, even if they are considered faculty are definitely not considered as prestigious, as academically rigorous, as whatever it might be.
All of these issues, systemic deeply ingrained issues are being asked to be solved through the interpersonal, through the local with no acknowledgment or support about how these institutional problems these institutional inequities have a major role in the failure of these programs.
So what makes it worse, especially in librarianship, is vocational awe. Is librarianship an occupation or a vocation? Usually, these two words would be considered synonyms of each other, however, when it comes to context, there are very different connotations surrounding these two words.
An occupation is something that you do, and then you come home and you leave it. A vocation, coming from a little word will vocarrio meaning to live well under God's influence, under God himself, right? That idea is that you never really leave. I am a pastor's kid - there's usually at least one in the chat so, Hello fellow PK.
And so, as a pastor's kid I know that you never really leave church, you might leave the building, but Church is always there with you, whether it's women's retreats, whether it's Bible school study session, Sunday school, even during the summers - vacation Bible school. And in middle school and high school, I was on Bible quiz which is basically jeopardy, but for the Bible, which I know is incredibly nerdy, but it was just again that sort of norm, that everything in your life revolves around the church, revolves around religion and Christianity. And so when I use the word vocation, that is - and when most people use the word vocation - that is what they are, what, that's the images that they are bringing up. This idea that it's not just an occupation, but a calling, a lifelong mission. And so, when I speak about vocational awe, the definition is describing the set of ideas, values, and assumptions that librarians have about themselves and the profession that result in notions that libraries, as institutions are inherently good and sacred and therefore beyond critique.
So what does this mean? Well, libraries are inherently good, I mean, they provide access to all have diverse collections, champion truth and free speech. Unless, of course, they are undesirable.
The most when we are going through, like our library program as well when we're talking about libraries, we don't, we always mention all of these aspects that in many people's mind make libraries inherently good. But we rarely talk about the ways in which libraries have marginalized undesirable groups throughout history, whether that be segregation - most libraries, academic, public and otherwise were segregated during the time up, up until honestly I would say, still now there are many libraries, public libraries, academic libraries that are pretty much still segregated.
An example of the fight for integration of libraries is the Tougaloo Nine. Nine students on the Tougaloo College campus went into the main, aka white, library and sat down to use the materials that weren't available at the colored library across the way. They were arrested for the audacity - in their mind - to try and access information.
And while many libraries integrated and are integrated now, the path was never a smooth path. Most libraries closed rather than integrate or they did what some might seem as familiar now where they took away all the tables, they took away all the chairs, so that it would engender a feeling of discomfort and therefore would make it so mixing groups, mixing races would feel uncomfortable and dirty in some way.
Now we continue to show who is undesirable, whether it be through policing in libraries, as we know, throughout the summer, when it comes to policing for many people it actually engenders a feeling of fear and insecurity, rather than the ideal of policing, which is protecting and serving.
Libraries have meeting and policies that allow TERFs and Nazis and white supremacists, but marginalized groups that are fighting for personhood and allyship, such as Black Lives Matters groups such as queer and trans groups.
And so, this idea that libraries are inherently sacred because they provide a safe space, a sanctuary, they're all inspiring is only for those who are privileged, only for those who are deemed worthy in some way. Because the only people who can be comfortable with being in a safe space for white supremacists, for Nazis, for TERFs are those who either share their ideology or who are privileged enough not to be marginalized by those who share that ideology.
And lastly, and perhaps most importantly, libraries are often talked about and seen as something that is beyond critique. After all, we are the last bastions of democracy for the soul of the community, we are one of the last non-capitalist places, places where you don't have to spend money in order to be there and to stay there, where supposedly any and everyone is welcome. But libraries, as we've started talking about with instructional programs, right? They often ignore these valid critiques for fear of not being seen as resilient enough, not being seen as having enough grit. And any true democratic institution would never actually suppress valid critiques, would never actually uphold white supremacy, or at the very least ignore how white supremacy and the way that it is intertwined with institutions exists. It wouldn't ignore these inequities, these inequalities, all of the things that we have started to mention throughout this presentation.
And so, going back to the instructor, this is what the cycle of exploitation leads, this is what it means when vocational awe is the system in which we build our programs, in which we build our libraries.
It starts off with recruitment. A worker passionate worker is hired by the library. Then they are put through many types of abuse and low morale experiences. Kaetrena Kendrick Davis (Kaetrena Davis Kendrick) talks a lot about what these low morale experiences are and how it leads to abuse. I would definitely check out her work to learn more about the specifics.
But, as it is, right, these instructors these library workers, these grad students, the adjuncts, right, they’re put through abuse over and over and over again. And of course vocational awe means that, instead of having support for this abuse, it is buried, because any critique can’t actually be discussed or talked about, right? And so because of this lack of support, because of this lack of acknowledgement, even, for the abuse, for these low morale experiences, the library worker burns out. And then they leave, and then let the cycle will start again, whether it be the fact that another passionate worker is recruited to the library, or even that they don't replace that worker who has left and all of the work is then shuffled on to the remaining people, which of course adds to the abuse that they are going through, and so the cycle just continues on and on and on.
Of course, all of that was hard enough without a pandemic. For the past year and some change now, we have been dealing with a frankly, unprecedented change to our way of life. Libraries have had to shut down, of course, in many ways it took actual advocacy from library workers, library unions, state representatives, in order to actually shut the libraries down. And since then there's been this digital pivot to online spaces. It's partly what brought us here today, rather than being in person, we are all in our own separate spaces, own separate homes, listening to this keynote this conversation.
And, while in some ways, this has led to a lot of good things. The fact that there are live captioning for this video, for example, something that was a rarity before, the idea that accessibility doesn't actually mean that someone is lazy or someone isn't actually doing work. But in many ways, this pandemic has shown just how far libraries are willing to go to exploit their workers, to abuse their workers.
When I first started talking about vocational awe, it was around the conversation around NARCAN. The idea that library workers shouldn't have the burden of saving people's lives, especially with the little training that we would receive and the lack of support that we would receive for our own trauma afterward.
I wish, of course, that a pandemic wasn't such a proof of concept to the extremes that libraries would go to exploit their workers, but we see that the other side is also true. Just like library workers are being expected to save other people's lives on top of all of the other duties that we have taken through the underfunding of social services, we are now expected to lay our own lives on the line for the library.
My good friend, Latanya, and mentor at Temple University recently passed away from cancer. She was an instructor, library instructor at Temple University she was also the gov docs librarian and the Temple policy is that while you may gain 10 sick days a year, a 12 month year, you're only allowed to use six before you start having disciplinary actions put against you. These disciplinary actions ramp up all the way until termination.
As someone going through chemo, the expectation - going back to resilience and grit, right - was to bounce back to come, literally come into the building after chemo, because library work and the customer service aspects, right - being a part of the community, helping the students - was seen as more important than her health and well being.
While this may seem an extreme example, throughout the pandemic, we have seen over and over again how library workers and librarians are meant to put their own health and well being aside for the good of the library, and are not supposed to critique the horrors and trauma being that we are all being put through. Whether it was librarians in San Francisco who were charged with becoming a daycare for kids and teens of essential workers. Whether it was the idea that library workers are seen as essential until, of course, it came time to administer the vaccine, in which case we weren't advocated for as part of 1B. All of these trauma, all of these systems of oppression against the worker is supposed to be ignored, is supposed to be bounced background, is supposed to be just the grin and bear it situation.
And so, I think that, before I move forward to the next slide it's important to take a deep breath and feel grateful that we are all here today relatively healthy relatively well. At the very least surviving. Our institutions won't give us that support and so for right now for these next 20 seconds let's just have that moment of silence and reflecting on the fact that we are all here today. Because, as we know, many of us aren't. And so I’ll give us that moment now. Thank you.
And so, this Is the cost of our service: exploitation, abuse, death?
The fact that death is not seen anymore as a horrifying extreme for what it costs to be a library worker is honestly inhumane, it's unethical. And as we as workers, try and and continue to have grit, continue to have resilience, our institutions are moving full speed ahead towards going back to normal, and all that that means - all of the inequity when it comes to access, all of the “do more with less” framework, all of the ways that accessibility has actually been prioritized throughout this pandemic, is very quickly being rolled back. Things like accommodations are being seen even more so now as ways that you are trying to game the system, ways that you are not as passionate or resilient as the worker next to you.
And so what what is it that can do? What comes next? We know what the institutions want - they want us to go back to normal, back to a cycle of exploitation, based on Taylorism where the metric is passion, rather than efficiency, right? Where institutions want us to go back, or rather, and many cases, really continue and even ramp up the amount of work and overwork that library workers do for the community at the cost of their own health and well being.
They institutions want us to not talk about the valid critiques, not talk about the very real abuses that we're all going through. They want us to go back to being silent, to go back to vocational awe where it is seen as holy, where it is seen as morally righteous to suffer greatly, to suffer deeply. And so it is up to all of us to change the paradigm, to make librarianship more equitable, not just for instructors, but for all departments, for all of us who are working in a library, in whatever capacity that means.
And so, how do we change the paradigm?
I always try and bring up this quote because I think it's so important. Audre Lorde said “Caring for myself is not self-indulgent, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.”
Self care has been in many ways stripped down to shallow neo-liberal things, whether it be a pizza party, yoga, little things that ignore the broader systemic issues and yet in libraries with vocational awe even these small neoliberal ways of self care can be seen as too much. Can be seen as breaking some sort of invisible rule and visible more. And so it's important for us to know that caring for ourselves is not just self indulgence, it is self preservation. And in a world where our institutions continue to hope and pray that we don't fight back, that we ignore these critiques, that we ignore the very real nature of the abuses we are going through, it is definitely an act of political warfare.
And so, how do I start? The first thing is to set boundaries.
In a digital space, it can be even harder to set those boundaries between work and life. As important as their job duties can seem they can wait, I always like to say there's no such thing as a library emergency. We are not actually medical doctors, we are not actually… You know, like unless the building is on fire, it can wait till the next morning and honestly if the building is on fire, I would be very confused as to why they are calling library workers, rather than the actual firefighters, whose job it is to put these out. That email can wait until the next day, it can wait until Monday, it can wait until you have lived your life.
As we've seen throughout this year and a half, as we've seen in the case of Latanya Jenkins, of all of these people who have gotten COVID during the pandemic, who have died during the pandemic, the institution will just replace you when you leave, right? Whether it be… they don't matter, they… it doesn't matter what the reason is, right? An institution will always just continue to add bodies or continue to see how far they can push to get work done with as few people as possible, and so, knowing that, setting those boundaries for yourself is a political act. The personal is political
And it can be hard to set boundaries without help and so working collectively is also vitally important. And we never want a situation where someone above you, someone in power can say, Why are you complaining? Fobazi works until 2am without complaint. Fobazi doesn't, she hasn't taken a vacation day in 20 years. There's no need to add these. I have this support for you all, because there's someone there who will continue to be exploited, happily, or at the very least exploited without saying anything.
So, whether you're in a unionized place or not, organize with your co-workers to set and maintain a life outside of work, that way, no one can be used as a linchpin to roll back things.
One of the very first and most important lessons that I learned, when I was working in a middle school as a school librarian was from the union head, she said to me, always take your full lunch break even if you have work to do, even if it seems like a crisis is happening always take your full lunch break, because then when union negotiations come around, if enough people have worked through their lunch, have worked through their prep periods, they have a legitimate reason to try and take away that lunch try and take away that prep period.
Think about your instruction programs that you are part of on campus, think about how, in many ways it is seen as an achievement to do 100, 200, 300 sessions in a single semester. Think about how it is seen as an achievement that instructors or Grad students or whomever are putting in 40, 50, 60, 80 hours to keep a program running, keep a program running with spit and glue.
You might be in a right to work state, and that can make it very scary to organize but remember that you're organizing, not just for yourself, but for your colleagues who are there with you for the people who are coming after you. Many of the things that we take for granted, how ... were created through blood, sweat and tears, the fact that a minimum wage was even created in the first place was seen as some sort of horrifying socialist endeavor. As many of us, often say about libraries, libraries are seen as this incredibly radical social endeavor, and so we have to continue to move forward, never go back. Always work collectively to set those boundaries and move forward.
And so, I… it's always great to remind ourselves of these things. I love myself too much to accept a lack of work life balance; I love myself too much to allow my job to become my whole identity; I love myself too much to tolerate job creep; and I love myself too much to witness inequality and unfair practices and do nothing.
Thank you all so much, I will start to take questions now again, you can find me on Twitter, on my website and, or you can email me. Thank you.
Jill King: Thank you, Fobazi. Thank you so much. There is there's a ton of applause and thank yous and kudos flying through the chat right now. I completely agree with comments that this was a really powerful and thoughtful talk thanks so much for sharing your work with us.
We have about 15 minutes for questions and discussion, and we do have some questions coming in, so if you have a question, please go ahead and enter it into the Q and A section, and we will see what we can get to.
So let me take a look um there's, there's a comment that I'll share.
To start off regarding the policies for sick leave that lead determination, there are other people in administration at institutions With supportive leave policies, who have used family leave as a way to seek termination cause against workers.
Were policies around the family medical leave act FMLA or not specified for those with exempt and faculty status it's imperative to understand how those policies are administered in fact this was an exploitation by the employer.
Fobazi Ettarh: Yes, it certainly was again institutions understand that. Things like overwork and job creep and a lack of work-life balance can make it very difficult to advocate for yourself. Even as you're being exploited, if you have no time no energy no support to actually advocate not only can it continue, but he can get worse and so that's why collective work. Collective advocacy is so important.
Jill King: Thank you another question. How does someone who is a solo librarian set boundaries and work collectively it can feel so overwhelming if one is seemingly on their own covering instruction for a discipline or even an entire library without support.
Fobazi Ettarh: Yes, this, This is definitely a question that I get a lot and I totally understand how that burden can feel. I was a solo librarian as most school librarians are solo librarians, and so I have had experience, having to set boundaries for myself without anyone else to work with.
And so to that question, I say. Again, there are little things you can do that, you can start with when it comes to setting those boundaries for yourself. I always like to give the example about putting in your email signature that my workday may not be your workday.
And so what this again means is that you're pushing back against the idea that you are available 24-seven at any given point. Again there's no such thing as a library emergency though it can definitely feel that way, and when it comes to community It doesn't necessarily have to be.
Those with your job title, it can be say the teachers, if you are in a school library if you're in an academic library or in a reading room where it is just you talking to community outside of the building can also be a way to build coalition other departments on campus other library workers.
And just the global space, you know conversations like this, look at the people in the chat who are with you right there's over 200 participants in this keynote right now, they are also your people, that you can build coalition with.
They are the people that you can gain data from and say Oh well in this comparable library, with the same amount of students, the same amount of whatever they are doing it this way, and Look how.
They are still achieving or whatever the case, might be building those conversations with other people who may not have your same job title or may or those who may have your job title but aren't different states different communities can help you build that coalition.
Jill King: Thank you. Another question, what do we do with colleagues who go on about their own self exploitation and overwork and they're bragging about it, it's clear that burnout is on its way, but when trying to engage from a pure position or a managerial position, the person insists, it is okay, how do we help others see the overwork their self selecting and then perpetuating as an expectation on their part.
Yeah. self-righteous can really go a long way in starting to bring people around.
Those people who glorify in it often times they say that because they have come from institutions or organizations, where that was the norm, where they themselves were beaten down, as it were, until they drank the Kool-aid in the hopes that If they willingly exploit themselves, maybe it won't hurt so much and so to break that cycle to shift that you have to do have conversations and again they can sometimes be difficult.
They can sometimes even be heartbreaking but I, I know that just like any other bad habit that we have it takes someone saying that's not cool to understand that it is in fact a bad habit and to work towards making it better it's in terms of minute cereal
and administration, sometimes having data can help to transform the conversation, because it can be very easy for administrators from managers to dismiss conversations like that, as workplace griping but.
You know my work amens work to train has work there, thankfully, a lot of scholar like brian's right now, who are showing how this exploitation how this abuse actually makes libraries worse in the long run, how it actually you know from a purely neoliberal sense having a work life balance, having an organization where job satisfaction is high, reduces turnover it reduces.The it reduces the culture of fear and therefore it increases job satisfaction and increases retention and so even just saying it in the language that makes sense to them can start to shift that paradigm.
Jill King: Thank you, on, I want to make sure this one gets asked to how do you plan to set boundaries and maintain work-life balance, well in your Grad program I am an mls student now, and I find it so much harder to set those boundaries than when I was working full time I also feel like i'm expected to spend all my time making myself horrible including during the summer break.
Fobazi Ettarh: Yes, I definitely understand that pressure, and it was something that I thought really deeply about before I even started applying to programs a PhD.
any sort of programs on a campus deals with sort of a double whammy of vocational all right, the librarianship aspect, and also the academic aspect, the university aspect where being in the temple of knowledge, as it were, is seeing as the most holy and therefore the most important thing that you could do with your entire time.
The way I plan to set boundaries is by understanding of what exactly my needs are and how best to fulfill them a concrete example is I currently live in Chicago.
Urbana champaign but campus is too and a half hours away. When I, many people would consider that commutable um I am disabled I have sickle cell and I know that in the in the long term it's more important for me to take away any added stressors of my life. To focus on my work than to save money, and so I will be you know looking for a place on or near campus so that I don't have to do that commute.
Every day or every other day, whatever it might be, and so it's Also, simple way to think about it is just to write down all of the things that are most necessary for your own mental and physical health and then write the obligations that you have, for your program. And then, looking at that chart think about ways that you can incorporate mental and physical wellness into your life, while still finishing or completing the program whether it is again taking your email app off your phone, whether it is asking for extensions on papers, of course, not all faculty will be as amenable to certain things but taking those chances where you can to increase the space between you and the program is really important, and I will be definitely following my own advice, as I start my program.
Jill King: Thank you, I think we have time for one more question. Do you have thoughts for this particular audience of librarian teachers, students can invoke the rhetoric of vocational awe, and insist on availability of Librarians to help me at all hours have you seen strategies for the syllabus etc, to help coach students on instructor boundaries.
Fobazi Ettarh: Yes, um my wife is a professor at University of Illinois Chicago in the Comm department and what she will do is she will you know, put it in her syllabus ways that they can contact her. But also, you know, creating shared, spending that first, usually that first day of class right is just to talk about the syllabus and is usually a shorter class period, but just like how I did with this presentation, as instructors, you can take time in the beginning of your lesson to set ground rules to set expectations for the classroom saying, you know, whatever the rule might be whether it is, I am here for you as students, during my office hours during the class times, and up until you know 8pm, such and such nights, but afterwards anything we'll have to wait until the next day.
Again, I think, transparency about any sort of decision making and you sort of processes that lead to benchmarks for success can help with setting those boundaries.t I is very you know... students oftentimes will wait until 11pm for a midnight deadline to be like oh my gosh nothing's working and as instructors, we know that that's a commonality, and so it can feel, like oh, we should stay up until midnight to make sure that there isn't anything going wrong with blackboard or Sakai or whatever it might be. And by setting those boundaries again ahead of time, and also by repeating, you know that the fact that these boundaries are there, students will know that again their emergency doesn't make it your problem. If it is a an emergency, such as medical or well… hellness, wealth and hellness … why can I not … health and wellness - yikes, Friday, as I said - you know, then you work with those students to create extensions or whatever it might be, but it also reinforces the fact that you, too are a human with personhood with problems with life issues and that you can’t be their lifeline 24-seven.