Rejection, Reflection & Integrity: Being Who I Am When No One and Everyone is Looking

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So, here I am, writing about rejection again…because, well, in addition to my grant proposal, I just had an article manuscript rejected this week as well.

I’m also exhausted, with a million things to do, school and daycare upheaval for my kids, and on my way home today, my tire pressure light came on.

But, I just had an amazing class, in a room with tables!

And, we got to talk about and represent our identities:

AND we got to connect our identities with those of our students, in thinking about what we want students to take from our courses:

And what it all helped me to realize was that identity and integrity is all about who I am in moments of rejection and reflection–just as much as it’s about who I am when I’m celebrating a momentous victory. It’s about who I am when I am in the spotlight and when I’m silent. It is the totality of my being, the good and the bad.

So, now, I will drown the rough part of my day (week, semester) in a plate of homemade nachos and get in some last precious moments with my family before their bedtime and my next few hours of work.

And tomorrow will be a new day, for me to try it all again.

Making It Work

I am fortunate to be on a campus that has an incredible faculty technology support team and that is forward thinking in terms of active learning and technology integration.  As an early adopter and tenure-line faculty, I have also been lucky to be assigned to these active learning classrooms more often than not.  Sure, some semesters, I have chosen to teach off-campus, at local high school sites, where I face firewalls that block active social media engagement, but that’s a fine trade-off given that we’re actually engaged in a secondary classroom and actively a part of that campus.

This semester, however, I’m back on my university campus for all my courses.  And, because of a late schedule shift and a particularly popular course offering time, there were slim pickings in terms of rooms.  So, this is what I walked into yesterday:

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Yes, that’s right. Immovable rows in a lecture hall.  And, there was a VGA cable, but no smart panel input for the VGA cable (at least not one that could be figured out after a few minutes of screen pressing diligently).  While my students may have been ready for active learning, my seating was not.  It was pretty much my “anti-pedagogy” nightmare.

What’s a girl to do in the moment? (Besides silently cry via emoji and let my sorrows be known to the twitterverse?)

Well, if there’s anything years of middle school teaching have taught me, it’s that you’ve got to make it work.  Teaching is not about one’s circumstances.  It’s about how we can adapt to make the best of less than ideal situations.

So, we used the walls and the halls (or the aisles, in this case):

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When you’re committed to collaboration, if the chairs don’t move, you do. We held class, did people bingo, shared with and about one another, developed community, and climbed over some furniture. Your commitment has to be stronger than the bolts that tie the furniture to the ground if you want to make it work because there will always be obstacles. That’s our professional reality.

PS. I put in for a room change this morning.  Please keep your fingers crossed.  The extra distance to the room is worth the possibility of…wait for it…tables and chairs! (I’m easily satisfied) Stay tuned for updates.