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021 — Self-Care
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Teacher of the Ear 021 — Self-Care

With Kaitlin Clinnin and sarah madoka currie

This is Teacher of the Ear: a show presenting conversations of learning, teaching, and technology, listening for ways to empower educators and champion student agency. It’s the aural side of Hybrid Pedagogy. I’m Chris Friend from Kean University.

We’ve talked a lot on this show about how to support students, how to care for students, and how to extend grace to students. We’ll keep those conversations going in future episodes, with interviews on love and optimism already in the queue. But for this episode, we’re going to focus specifically on ourselves. We’re going to talk about self-care—things teachers can do to help make it through the utterly exhausting experience of teaching and scholarly activity during a global pandemic now entering month 24 and showing no signs of abating.

For this conversation, I chat with Kaitlin Clinnin and sarah madoka currie. Kaitlin is assistant professor and writing program administrator at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. sarah is a doctoral candidate who teaches writing at the University of Waterloo.

Now I don’t know how things are going on your campus, but in my neck of the woods, any time you ask anyone how they’re doing, the answer is somewhere on the line between “I’m tired” and “I’m exhausted.” That’s about it. So in this episode, I want to directly address that situation by acknowledging that we’re worn out, then talk about ways to think about that exhaustion, address the problem, and show ourselves some grace. We won’t solve the problem of exhaustion (unfortunately), but we will help you think through it a bit. Let’s dive right in.

Chris Friend:        I started this conversation by basically saying we're all exhausted. We're all tired, but the pandemic has drawn attention to mental health in ways that I've never seen before. And we're all a lot more comfortable acknowledging that we're not OK, and we're a lot more comfortable acknowledging that things aren't going the way they're supposed to be going, or that we need help, and that sort of thing.

What I haven't seen a lot of ideas for faculty to help us take care of ourselves. And then in that conversation came up the idea that we've got this expectation that we are responsible for taking care of ourselves, and that's problematic and all that sort of thing.

So I already see that your your heads are nodding. Is there something that you want to just take and run with and and start commenting on and helping us think through?

Kaitlin Clinnin:        Well, I guess I would say that as individual faculty members, some of us may feel more empowered or in a position of privilege where we can make that that claim, you know, I just submitted my tenure packet at this point. I feel like I have done everything that I needed to do, and so I feel like I am responsible for junior faculty and contingent faculty and graduate students to articulate that I'm not OK that none of us are OK because I have that institutional privilege at this point that my job is not on the line.

And if I can bring up the fact that caregivers and people of color and women and people who had pre-existing conditions or mental health concerns or medical concerns—that these are groups that have been desperately impacted but they're in a more precarious situation than I am.

It is my responsibility to say that in whatever meeting I can get in and to also start trying to advocate for changes because as individual faculty members on Twitter, yeah, we're posting about this. We're saying that our kids’ daycare is closed for the you know, the third time in two months, or that we're dealing with COVID brain fog or pandemic brain fog, whatever the case may be, you know that our work our publications have taken, you know, a hit or that our pipeline has, you know, been destroyed, whatever it may be.

But the institution doesn't necessarily recognize that, or they were recognizing it from March 2020 to maybe May 2021, but this year, at least at my university, we are back to normal. We are back to business as usual or the new normal as they're saying without recognizing that all the same things that were happening over the past year and a half are continuing to happen. Daycares are are continuing to be closed. We still don't have access to the same resources for research or for teaching. We're still, you know, masked up.

And so there are some small ways that the institutions are recognizing this or not recognizing it. They offered for example a tenure clock extension for one year, but that has not continued. They you know there are all these policies and things that they could put in place. Instead, they're like Oh well, now you can have some self care. Have you Considered self care? Have you considered yoga?

And so if I'm able to, you know, advocate for other people and say, yoga is not going to solve much right now. You know it might help me for, you know, 35 minutes. If I can do that, but it's not going to change the fact that we were already in institutions that extracted our labor to the point of burnout that rely on burnout because of the available supply of cheap labor, we are always replaceable. And in these conditions, they can still find somebody else as they leave, so we were already predisposed to burnout. And now these conditions just make it worse.

And the university, like the institutions, don't feel like they have to respond in the same way. So that's my cynical take.

Chris Friend:        And back on that whole like yoga, “Have you tried yoga?” idea, like, I can't even do yoga right now. I've tried yoga doesn't work for me because my brain can't calm down enough to focus on what I'm supposed to focus on. When I'm doing yoga. I'm like, Nope, it's just not getting anything.

sarah currie:        I obviously agree with everything she said and I think I can take it up. You know, my soapbox is in CDS, critical disability studies, and I think she's not in CDS gang, but there's a really really clever theorist out of American lit named Sarah Altschuler, and she had this really clever quote at the end of last year that went something like, you know, this was only all of these systemic breakdowns, and the fact that no one showed up for anyone when this happened was only a marvel to people who were not already living in continual or recursive precarity, and I thought that was a really great way, at least from disability, of summarizing kind of what the pandemic uncovered insofar as everyone who was already marginalized was kind of doubled down in their marginalization and everyone in the normcore or as close as you could get to that you know, experienced the original marginalization of these marginalized groups and they were like, all this is bullshit. This is not good.

And in that realization of wow, some people have had it a lot harder than I've had, there's still this ironic non-realization that they are still so much further ahead of all these people who have been re marginalized by what's happened right? So I think that's really ironic.

Chris Friend:        So OK, I want to challenge something here. I'm hearing from both of you the idea that we are not OK and we have all of a sudden been told that it is our responsibility to make sure that we maintain our okay-ness as the world catches fire around us and as institutions don't provide any additional support beyond business as usual, right? And I'm also hearing that we should be standing up for other people and making sure that other people get support that they need and make sure that we can care for others.

So I'm going to be really cynical here, and I don't actually mean this question, but I I want to see how we respond to this. I'm hearing that I need to take care of myself and I also now, on top of that, need to take care of other people and at what point does that break, or how do we get unstuck from that situation?

sarah currie:        I think, and I did like a whole talk about kind of the relationship between this and UDL yesterday, but the kind of like 2 minute summary of that was that my answer to that is that a lot of mutual aid work is self work, right? So in that exploration through bricolage learning and learning what it means to work within a community and naming and making space for harm and using that to produce heal space, I think what that accomplishes is kind of this dualism you're drawing here between caring for the self and caring for the other.

And there's a lot of people who call that mutual aid or transformative justice or healing resistance. We've named it a lot of things, but what it really is is using Freudian bricolage To try to imagine a new way of looking at the pathway you are on that helps you as much as it helps others.

Kaitlin Clinnin:        The immediate thought that came to mind was mutual aid, so sarah and I are on the same wavelength with that. But yes, as an individual I can run up against this brick wall that is the university. You know, according to Sarah Ahmed, like I can just keep running into that wall and trying to fight this system and eventually what's going to happen is I'm going to end up on the floor bruised and battered from running myself into that brick wall.

But if we're all running together and we run towards the wall, and we can strategize and we could start taking a hammer and chipping away at the wall slowly, we'll bring that wall down eventually.

It's the reason why unions work, right? You know that as an individual you can be isolated. And you can be fired. You know you can be scapegoated, but when you have there's power in groups. And I also agree with what Sarah was saying in terms of the the work that I have been doing as an individual to take care of myself even before the pandemic. But I have a lot of experience, unfortunately with gun violence and that has come out has led to my work in trauma informed pedagogy and education.

So the work that I was doing to take care of myself and advocate for myself and my needs at that point was also work that then I was able to do in my writing program at my institution to advocate for other people who needed the same sort of resources and that for me was also really healing to feel that I was no longer just like a victim of these situations, but that I could take some ownership.

I had agency. And I could start working for institutional chang e. So it was removing that from me.

Part of that self care process is about recognizing our needs and advocating for those needs, and then it becomes not just self care but really community care and community advocacy.

So I have complex PTSD and PTSD from gun violence. And I started sharing this with the the new graduate students that I helped to train and to develop into doctors and it was amazing to me the number of students then who came up to me afterwards and, you know, we were disclosing their their own trauma which was a lot for me to also have to, you know, take in and in to process but that they felt for the first time that there was a space in the program for them that they didn't have to perform this idea of what an ideal instructor looks like, which is somebody who doesn't have mental health concerns.

And these again were concerns that existed before the pandemic. These are concerns that have only amplified due to the pandemic and the triple pandemic of you know the COVID-19 pandemic, the economic effects and then the continued racial injustice.

sarah currie:        I deal a lot with the kind of disclosure dialectic as well and like, while it's so great to facilitate spaces that can honor and make brave space for these kind of difficult disclosures, particularly in mental illness or mental illness and other intersections, I think the harm dealt doesn't have to always be dealt with with the disclosure framework, right?

I think the Dylan Robinson, who's a Canadian theorist, has this really great framework for speaking and listening. He calls it “listened to” and “listeners” and what that did was in this super slight rhetorical way, by changing the word speaker to “listened to”, there was this mediation of the power relationship between the speaker and the listener, because even when we're not thinking about it, we're still kind of prioritizing the speaker, right? Even if unconsciously and by evening out, that linguistic choice, it really set the stage for a dialogue to happen, but the dialogue necessary did not necessarily have to be charged with Full disclosure space or partial disclosure space because I don't like recommending all profs, you know take up a nonviolent or healing resistance or trauma informed facilitation because not everybody is ready for that, so another way around that is just reorienting the listen to or listening with ethicality, which I think is an easier way in than the kind of work that maybe Kaitlin and I are doing.

Chris Friend:        Sarah in our in our Twitter DM conversation you wrote something about bringing pedagogy back into focus without being martyred or self sacrificial. I love that phrasing and and I love the challenge there of of saying that we do need to emphasize pedagogy. We do need to pay attention to how things work in our classes, and we don't need to sacrifice ourselves in order to get there. I'm just wondering if if other thoughts have come up, if there's something that you could say to elaborate on that or or if you want to like contextualize that concept or anything like that.

sarah currie:        We could elaborate on that all day. I think I think there's two valences I'm using to mean that, and I think I'll do kind of A and then do B.

So you kind of did A, where, you know, this martyrship and I feel as though it is my career path to just get up in the morning work 14 hours and not have anything left in the tank every single day. That's what I signed up for. I don't think anyone signs up for that. And you know, using how dedicated or devoted you are to your craft or your research and your suffering as kind of a point of merit or a point of proving that? I think there's a whole lot wrong with that deconstruction of how you're creating your worth in that situation, and if you create your worth only by the amount of suffering you're producing as a kind of chemical equation, uhm, I'm not sure how much that's even helping your students, right?

Because it doesn't sound like at that point in the equation you're even doing it for them anymore. You're doing it to prove how much worth you have to the craft you've chosen, and that's kind of a hard truth, and I'm sorry.

The 2nd way I was kind of using it, was: I noticed—and there are other theorists who've noticed this, particularly in CDS—this meteoric rise of LXP narratives (lived experience). But it's mostly about the retelling of that suffering to prove their worth and this kind of reifies this community interest in “Oh well, they wrote a whole piece for X or Y publication. I won't name, uh, about how hard they've struggled and how long they worked to try to pull off the synchronous/asynchronous learning and it creates this kind of forced scarcity and pressure, and this compulsion to deliver so far beyond what you're meant to deliver in pandemic conditions and then what your university does with that is endorse it, right?

Because there's no loss for them in endorsing these articles and promoting you to read them because they're getting more of your labor for nothing and they don't have to make an argument for why you should do that if other people are doing that work for them, right? So they're happy to support that and we're happy to martyr them as you know, these great hybrid UDL pedagogues, who are out here 12, 13 hours creating reasons to keep showing up and keep representing what they think is a sustainable architecture or what a professor should look like in a pandemic.

It's creating this really recursive harm system and I think it looks a lot like just a safari of martyrship and suffering that doesn't really need to happen. And mutual aid and restorative justice would go a long way toward kind of stepping in that recursive circle and saying like, OK guys, we are not playing on each others team here, but I would like to be playing on your team.

Kaitlin Clinnin:        Well, 'cause I hadn't, I hadn't thought about it in that way because I was, you know that person who was nine months pregnant when the pandemic started, and…

sarah currie:        That sucks and I'm sorry.

Kaitlin Clinnin:        Yeah, and who you know was overseeing a very large program with, you know, 120 graduate student and part-time instructors, and so you know I was really working to to maintain what my institution was calling, you know, instructional continuity that in spite of the fact that we are all at home now, we're going to keep on going the way that we were going before. With one week of preparation, and so me and my administrative team, you know, busted our butts to try to make sure that there was you know a canvas course shell for the rest of the semester for the multiple classes that we were, we were, you know, doing and you know, now I'm feeling bad because I have published about that.

That it's so sorry. So sorry, my career is entirely like this lived experience of trauma that I'm trying to profit off.

Chris Friend:        But if that article helps other people in like survive these kinds of things, there is value to it.

Kaitlin Clinnin:        Right, I mean, I think that there there there's value to it, but I'm thinking about how in many ways, like we probably made the situation, I don't want to say that we made the situation worse because there were so many national and global factors that made the situation worse. But you know, since then I have constantly said that, “Why are we even doing this?” You know we should be taking a break like we all need a break.

I'm looking at the you know our attendance and our engagement in our classes right now. With our instructors who have been teaching in a pandemic context for 19-20 months now, and our students are burnt out like we have the lowest attendance that I've ever seen. And even when students are present in class, they're they're not as engaged, because how can they be engaged? You know nobody has that mental, emotional, physical bandwidth right now. We're all exhausted. And so over that time I've said like I don't even know why we're here, why we're doing this, because how can we be?

You know trying to attend to what seems like on Maslow's hierarchy of needs, like something that is really not essential at this point. But is it because back in March 2020 we wanted to pretend that everything was OK, that that like normalcy, that we were striving for? Set the tone for we’re just going to power through this because capitalism, and you know, liberalism?

Kaitlin Clinnin:        I tell the grad students that I teach, you know, they are always new to the classroom, and so I tell them at the end of our orientation week that teaching is always emotional work. There's always a lot of emotional labor involved in that. And the work that we've been doing since March 2020 was different. You know, a lot of it was trying to emote into the Zoom void, right? And the ways that we experienced those interpersonal connections with students prior to March 2020, we weren't doing that. We had to develop kind of new muscles for that.

And then we came back. Maybe we came back. I know other places haven't. My school is like 25% still online at this point. And so now we're in this new context where we're doing something that we did in, you know, fall 2019 for the last time, but it's still not the same because we still have masks we didn't have a vaccine mandate, so now you're also looking at students as a threat to yourself, potentially be because we have many vulnerable instructors for a variety of reasons, so it's not just teaching after an absence, when you forget how tiring it can be and that you go home and you crash on the couch It's also recognition that there's a new relationship between you and the students.

sarah currie:        I would add to both of you like I hear what you're saying and I honor that. And I would go as far as to argue that that was always going to be the result based on our original response. You know when Caitlin said, you know there were all these extra things expected of me and all this extra affective labor and all this extra prep and overage labor. I didn't sleep in 2020.

I still don't sleep, but if I drew like an embodiment metaphor on it, you know when you're in a exercise class and they have you do the stretch up in the warmups and they go up up, up, up and you go up and then they go OK just a little bit higher and you can always go just a little bit higher. But you didn't the first six times they set up up up because you were following the direction. So when they said just a little bit higher, I see that as the pandemic curve when that hit and they said OK go just a little bit higher and then they held you there for a year and then when they stopped holding that. When they asked you to go back up again, we didn't stop at the normal comfort point. We went right back up to that coronavirus point where they said just a little bit higher.

So if there's anything that became the “new normal” in like extreme quotations, it would be all that extra affective labor or all that extra prep labor, and that's what we were valorising and all the publications and the manuals and the talks was everyone's ability to reach that little bit further. But when we did that, we trained everyone that that was the new normal, and now we're kind of reckoning with that.

Chris Friend:        Love that metaphor. And and that connects with something that Caitlin wrote in our DM conversation that I wanted to come back to you wrote, or you've asked how we can reimagine what teaching, learning, and supporting look like in perpetual burnout. And I, I love the bluntness of that question, because that is exactly where we all are right now, we are just we're always done I I find that whenever I walk into a classroom and I just, I ask, OK, how is everybody doing 'cause I wanna do a quick check, and the the number one answer I get is we're tired or I'm tired or I'm exhausted and that's the new answer. What used to be, I'm fine or I'm OK, which was the socially acceptable, dismissive answer of “there's more going on that I really don't want to tell you about,” now it's “I'm tired” and everybody just goes, Yep, I feel that.

So we are in this perpetual burnout, and you're asking how we can reimagine these things? Like, do you have an answer to your own question? Have you re imagined what teaching, learning and supporting look like?

sarah currie:        Caitlin, can you solve burnout?

Chris Friend:        Please say yes. Please say yes please say yes please.

sarah currie:        Don't you have the answer to corona burnout?

Chris Friend:        Heard it here folks. This podcast solves everything.

Kaitlin Clinnin:        I do have the answer. No, actually I I don't have the answer because unfortunately as as much as I might try, I'm not in charge of everything and I think that you know.

Chris Friend:        Well, that's step one we need to fix that real quick.

Kaitlin Clinnin:        There we go, so elect me is a global ambassador.

Chris Friend:        I'm in charge of all of it, yes.

Kaitlin Clinnin:        Yeah, you heard it here first. No so…

As I was driving it to my commute this morning and I was talking to my poor toddler, you know, I was telling her that what we really all need is just a year long break and recharge. You know we need a retreat to regenerate ourselves, but unfortunately that's not the way the world works. So at least I've been trying to think about what can I do in the writing program that I direct, because as I mentioned, I have about 120 faculty members, and so they're pretty much all grad students or contingent faculty. They're part time adjuncts. And so telling them “self care” feels like a platitude, which is what it feels like when the university says it to me as well.

Or to you know when they're sending out things about self care and stress relief strategies like, well, the way that you can reduce some of my stress is by relieving me of some of the responsibilities and the pressures. So unfortunately I can't do anything about the entire university, but what I can control, at least to some extent I imagine that I can think about like the workplace that I'm creating for our instructors. And so you know we've had expectations for like how much time it takes to, you know, provide grades to students. So telling instructors that they could take more time on giving students, you know, feedback or finding ways to reduce, you know, their workload. You know, having more flexibility with their scheduling or with their office hours and being able to do remote “office hours” instead of being on campus, and even just articulating the the labor that goes into teaching, recognizing that labor, having some of these discussions. I'm just trying to relieve the pressure for our instructors and their professional expectations so that they can try to create some more space in their life to do other things. And it's not perfect. You know, a perfect solution would be giving them all living wages and benefits. And that those are things that we all need right?

You know what the pandemic has shown was that there were always these fractures in our system and that's part of what's perpetuating the burnout because it's no longer, you're just the university faculty member, but you're also a university faculty member who doesn't have access to preventative healthcare or you're you have really insecure child care. Child care was always hanging on by a thread, even if you were paying, you know a mortgage each month in in child care you know are. For medical Fields were already really difficult for many people to access. Mental health care was always already really difficult for folks to access it. It's just these are the things that we need for burnout, and these are things that our students are experiencing.

So I guess I want to think about how do we reduce these expectations? Because what we were doing before what Sarah was saying, like that new normal is not sustainable. It was never sustainable. The work that we were doing that we were asking students to do.

I've been involved in so many you know, student retention projects at my university, and here it's 15 credit hours to finish. Well, that's a lot of classes a semester like you can do that for four years I guess to graduate on time or six years, but at what cost? You know, is a faster degree really what we need to be advocating for, I think you know in at least for faculty members, there's been this move towards the idea of like slow research, slow publishing, and what happens if we just remove this capitalist mindset that it's about as much production as quickly as possible and really just focus on our core values, which I believe are people and what do we do to make this sustainable for faculty, students, and staff who at this point have been working them to the bone before the pandemic, and it's only gotten worse.

Chris Friend:        You mentioned that we we need to encourage giving students more time, leniency, flexibility and that sort of thing in the classroom, and you're making me realize that a lot of what folks interested in things like ungrading have been advocating for for quite some time is a removal of these arbitrary barriers that disadvantage certain students to a greater degree than others, and to make things just more humane in the way that we deal with our classes in the way that we assess students—that sort of thing.

sarah currie:        Everything Kaitlyn said is true insofar as those are practices, we need to be implementing and everything Chris said is true insofar as I think a lot of that is built on this meritocracy discourse. And I think the the big “answer” to that is how we construct the word or the term deservingness. And this is what I'm on about as long as people will listen to me.

So if I construct an institution and I tell a whole bunch of people that they “deserve” to be there, I'm also constructing this alterity structure of all the people who I am implicitly saying do not deserve to be there by extant circumstances, and that's often disability. Where that kicks off all the disability discourse, all the racial discourse.

So by my merit based understanding that I am more deserving of inhabiting this space than they are. All of the things I think and learn and do from within that structure are based on my understanding of the word deserve. And if I'm raised in that system as an undergraduate and as a Masters student and as a graduate student, and as a teacher, when I come back for round 3, 4, 5, I haven't changed my definition of “deserve”. So even if I think it's kind of bullshit how they're being kept out, I'm also not really doing much to get in the way of that structure right? When I'm bringing students in and they're trying to “game the system” or “fake it” or “get out” of an assignment, I'm reconstructing that deserving-ness in my belief that they don't deserve to be here the same way I do, because that's what I was taught when I was told merit got me in the door.

And I think, by deconstructing that deserving-ness and merit framework, which coronavirus gives us the potential to do, we're gonna a) take people into the Academy who always deserve to be there and we just made up reasons why they couldn't and b) It gives us a new understanding of what makes us worthy of being in this space, because I don't think that worth should be constructed from this meritocracy complex that we've made up, and is doing violence to them—and now we've noticed, it's doing violence to us and them. And I'm saying let's just use this as an opportunity to stop that whole recursive bullshit.

Chris Friend:        So I I always like going for what I call a like wheels on the ground, kind of question of what could or should faculty do right now tomorrow this week, this semester, et cetera. And I think in this particular conversation, in this case, in this context, my question is, “What could or should faculty do to survive better in the current environment?” Are there are there like talking points, take home points, quick fixes that we could keep in mind that just make things run a little more smoothly.

sarah currie:I think like the everyday bricolaged interrogation of the word “deserve” is kind of my answer to that whole structure. Whenever I'm making a teaching decision or whenever I'm giving an extension or whenever I'm bailing on a chapter deadline I there is always a way I can construct that to how I am unworthy or I don't deserve to be here because I was unable to meet that expectation and that is taught and I can honor that I have been taught to think like that, and unlearning that is a really long and difficult process.

But I think there's the potential there to bricolage that onto deriving new forms of worth and new ways that I deserve to be here and all of that plays into—you can play that game with any teaching decision you make whatsoever. Am I going to post the slides? Most people don't post the slides because they think none of my students will come to class because they're lazy, because they don't deserve to be here, right? It always stems back down to that.

So when you have the choice, it's to think about, “can I do X, and if you can, can construct that back to merit and deserving this, notice that and always choose the thing that helps because they do deserve to be there and the way we've been taught to maneuver that and to do all these data-veillance practices and all these Orwellian ways of monitoring how merit-based they are was always a construct and it was never good.

And I would say, listening to not only the student but yourself and your own needs so is—you're probably investing a lot in these facilitation structures that allow you to build these trauma-informed  pedagogical spaces that allow for these disclosure conditions for students.

But if you're not doing those listened-to frameworks with yourself, you're ultimately doing a disservice to your students because you're unwilling to connect in that facilitation space the same way they are So you could be meaning for the best, but you're not showing up the same way they're showing up. So if you show up for yourself, that's still activism and activist pedagogy, because you've shown up for them by doing that.

Kaitlin Clinnin:        So my response is: If you're an instructor, cancel class. If you're an instructor, cancel a reading. Cancel an assignment. Cancel a week if you're an administrator, cancel the meeting. Heck cancel three meetings, everyone will thank you.

I've been, you know, over the past couple of years trying to read more in like Black Womanist theory and so I've been reading the The Nap Ministry. If you're familiar with with Tricia Hersey’s work. And she's, you know, coming at this from a anti-capitalist black womanist, black liberation theology perspective and the idea is that rest is resistance.

So a recent tweet was capitalism thrives on you, believing your entire reason for being alive is to work, produce, improve your work via labor and a lot of the work that she does is specifically directed to black women who have, you know, been exploited. And all of the labor extracted out of them possible.

And so I'm very mindful about not wanting to co-opt the the work that she's doing and you know the the histories and experiences that she's writing or that she is—that are the origins of her project, but I think that is something that at this point, rest is resistance. That is what we need to be doing.

We need to be resetting this new normal. We need to be making some space for ourselves for our own humanity and the humanity of our students as well. We all need that break and nobody is going to give it to us unless we take it. And even better if we can organize a collective rest out, rest in, you know, like a walkout. But that is not just about labor practices, but it is about reclaiming that time and space for ourselves and for our students.

But it's also not about using that as time to catch up, or that you are then because you have now had this extra 24 hours of rest that now you can be more present for somebody else that you can do more labor now because you have had that 24 hour period. Embraced the rest. Let it be rest, and use that as an opportunity to maybe reset your expectations moving forward.

I don't want this conversation to feel like an additional burden for folks that they have to be doing this work, it's also OK to recognize that again, we're in month 20 of a global pandemic and year 400 of you know racial injustice, you know that goes back centuries and millennia and it's OK to be burned out and to not be able to take on even like these structural challenges, or even to feel like you can't cancel your class because your situation is so precarious.

Because you don't have that same control over your class or because you don't have that same security. Like, this system has failed and so all I can like my suggestion in that case is to try to find somebody local who can at least be a support system for you. That's somebody that you can organize with in that mutual aid for that context.

But you know, I'm on Twitter, sarah is on Twitter, you know, we're happy to be even just present with you in the virtual space to recognize the experience that we are having and the fact that we are not OK.

So if all you can do right now is say I am not OK and I need somebody to hear that that is enough right now.

sarah currie:        I would love to be joined in beloved community, even if that beloved community is entirely digitized.

You've been hearing Teacher of the Ear, a production of Hybrid Pedagogy.

Just because the show is over doesn't mean the conversation ends. Everyone who contributed to this episode is accessible through Twitter, and so is the show itself. Along those lines, @TeacherOfTheEar and @chris_friend would like to thank @kclinnin and @kawaiilovesarah for chatting with me on today's show. Our theme music is by Blue Dot Sessions. This show is hosted on, and you can subscribe wherever you get your podcasts. The full catalogue of episodes, including show notes and complete transcripts, lives at That’s

So that’s it for this episode of Teacher of the Ear. I’m your host and producer, Chris Friend, from Kean University in Union, NJ, on land taken from the Lenni-Lenape in the late 18th century. Here in the 21st century, the trees are bare, and the air is dryyyy as we await the official start of winter. In the meantime, let’s all keep our ears open for more ways to empower educators and champion student agency.

Thanks for listening!