Kindness was never something I thought could be infused in academia. I, like Catherine Denial mentioned it in her article A pedagogy of kindness, thought of kindness as being nice or sympathy or worse pity. These past readings have shed so much light on another way of teaching I never thought was possible. I’ve mentioned it before, either in class or in my writings, I was never in line with this notion of regurgitating education what Paulo Freire called banking education.
To preface all of this, I think I need to give some of my own backstory. I was raised to be closed off to all but my family. To be cynical of everyone, friends lovers and educators alike. It a heavy shackle that I’m still learning to let go of. I’m trying not to let it affect my personal life and will never let it effect my journey of teaching others, whether in the world of academia or not. Denial said “I’ve found that kindness as pedagogical practice distills down to two simple things: believing people, and believing in people”. I struggle with both but we’ll focus on the latter.
I want to focus on that because, being a poet and wanting to perhaps teach this art focuses on believing in the struggles and strife’s of others. and to teach with kindness in mind, this art can come to full fruition. After reading these weeks assignments, I realized had I not read them I would’ve done unconscious damage to potential students. As it was stated in Love as Pedagogy “Objectivity casts a glaze of inauthenticity on the work, rendering it a static text of content rather than an active text of conversation. This is not objectivity; it is the de-humanizing, the killing, of writing”. To me this line made me think of the work I would be grading. My feedback would have had been that glaze of inauthenticity. And in turn I would be promoting the dominant, white,
academic, discursive standard mentioned in Assessing English So That People Stop Killing Each Other by Asao B. Inoue. (which I’m whole heartily trying to avoid even though most of the classical poetry I love is predominantly written or stolen by white males)
its genuinely comforting knowing that even in the light of this cruel cruel world, there are some who are trying to give it a little bit of warmth. I hope to be one of those, in academia or not.
Once again ending a post with an excerpt from my favorite poem.
And whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.by Max Ehrmann