My Friday Fun Facts are a response to some recent conversations in my office or around campus. After all these years of teaching, I am still a little surprised when I hear from a student some iteration of the following statement:
I’m so glad that I took a class with you. I just wish that my guy friends would.
This brings me to other quick statements that I hear from students that make me cringe a little as an instructor an advisor.
1. What is it with the Gender or Feminist in the title of only half of my classes that somehow instill some fear, dread or perhaps loathing in students of the male persuasion who feel loathe to take a course with a woman professor?! Maybe it’s just me. No, it’s just you. Get outside of your comfort zone and learn something. Be challenged.
2. If only we could all be so lucky to think and say: I refuse to work with her/him because their opinions differ from my own. Good luck with that! I wish you well in the workplace.
3. I’ve also heard occasionally from a student: I’ve already had one class about race, indigenous politics, gender, or sexuality. Surely you learned everything there was to learn in that one term! Why are you taking another International Relations, Canadian, History (you get the picture) course, when you are now an expert in the field! (Please note my sarcasm). Take a chance on a course and learn more!
4. I won’t take a class with Prof. X, as he is a GPA buster. When I hear this I have to smile or else I might frown. Take a class and learn something! Get to know the body of literature in the class and you might find that you enjoy the subject matter and that you might get more out of that B+ or A- in that course compared to an easy A or A-. And, you might even get the grade you deserve.
Overall my advice is to get out of your comfort zone and take different courses. Enjoy your education and remember that it’s not meant to be easy or merely affirm your particular beliefs. I have heard from many former students that they were glad they took that Environmental Studies, Legal Theory, Women’s Studies, Social Justice Studies, Political Science course or else they would not have found that they enjoyed the topic.
I remind students that I started off as a Journalism and Political Science student and changed my major during the end of my third year in college to Women’s Studies and kept Political Science as my minor. I remember reading the description of Sex, Power, and Politics with Dr. Kathy Jones and thinking that the class looked interesting. I had no idea that several years later I would teach that course and continue to teach iterations of it some twenty years later!