succumbing to peer pressure

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Little Sister Syndrome

I've spent most of my life being the youngest person in a given situation - in my family, at school, even among friends. I gravitate toward the older set. But nothing pushes my buttons faster than members of that older set smiling knowingly and casting smug glances to each other in reference to me, and some situation that they perceive they've already experienced, and therefore know how I will experience it too. At Case I spent a lot of time getting condescendingly patted on the head whenever I spoke about my social justice ideals. Now I'm getting the same treatment with regard to my plans for teaching in the fall. First of all, I have taught a class before. Second of all, I'm not a child anymore. Yes, I realize that I have pie-in-the-sky ideals with regard to many things, this course included. Yes, I realize that I am organizing my course in such a way that it will be incredibly time consuming. Yes, I realize that I will inevitably fall short of my goals, and will inevitably take it too personally when not every student loves my class. Give me some fucking credit. Because I also realize just what I am capable of. There is a reason why I started prepping this summer (something many of my fellow profs think is crazy and overkill). There is a reason I read a zillion articles on pedagogy and teaching techniques and picked everyone's brain about how they organize their class (see previous parenthetical). This is how I do things. This is how I've done things for more than two decades. I do have a shred of a clue as to what I'm doing and what I've gotten myself in to. So stop fucking looking at me like I'm 15 and like in 4 months you're going to have the pleasure of saying I told you so. I am not your little sister. I am your colleague, your peer, and in some cases, your friend. Constructive criticism is welcome. Smugness should be left at the door. You are not protecting me from potential future failure, you are predicting it. And that's insulting.