Ancrene Wiseass

A would-be medievalist holds forth on academia, teaching, gender politics, blogging, pop culture, critters, and whatever else comes her way.

My Photo
Location: United States

Yes, this really is yet another blog by a disillusioned grad student. I sympathize, but that's just the way it has to be. For hints as to what my bizarre alias means, click here and here and, if needed, here and here. To get a sense of what I'm up to, feel free to check out the sections called "Toward a Wiseass Creed" and "Showings: Some Introductory Wiseassery" in my main blog's left-hand sidebar. Please be aware that spamming, harassing, or otherwise obnoxious comments will be deleted and traced.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

This is why I dearly love teaching for the Nameless Summer Program

Okay, so I am running on less than three hours' sleep and have no idea how my grading and class planning is going to get done and can definitely see potential for an anxiety attack looming in the oh-so-near future.

And yet, as of yesterday, I am teaching again for my beloved Summer Program Which Shall Remain Nameless. Said summer program is oriented toward under-represented students, students from lower-income backgrounds, and those who are first-generation college students, and it's meant to give them a leg up on the school year they're about to start. It is, hands down, my absolute favorite thing about grad school that I get the chance to teach for this program every year. It is horrifically intense and intensive and time consuming and emotionally exhausting, and yet I look forward to being a part of it for all of the 10 1/2 months that I'm not teaching for it. Why?

Well, here are some examples of answers the students from this program gave to the question "Why are you here?"

--"Because I want to get my bachelor's degree and then go on to graduate school and eventually write my autobiography and make a killing."
--"Because I want to teach so I can help other people get here."
--"Because I want to go to law school so I can make things better."
--"Because I want to give my children a better life." (The woman who said this is, by the way, pregnant.)
--"Because I want to just stuff myself as full of learning as I possibly can while I'm still young."
--"Because I worked really, really hard to get here and I absolutely deserve it." (This one got a spontaneous round of applause.)

Let me assure you; these sorts of answers do not generally appear in response to this sort of question during the regular year and with the usual student population, which contains far too many spoiled entitlement junkies, just angling for their "A".

Seriously, these answers make me get a little teary-eyed. THIS is what it's supposed to be about. This is the stuff I'm here for.

Blessings be upon the Nameless Summer Program, which assures me, every year, that a collaborative, innovative, responsible, fully engaged, honest-to-God educational experience really is possible.