I’m the only female staff member among the English teachers at my university; I’m also the only English lecturer who has a university degree in education. Or English. So when my male coworkers decide to take our students on a field trip to the film festival (to see a movie that’s not even an English-language film), or to hold my students ten minutes into my class because they’re playing Apples to Apples, or to go to lunch with the students instead of having class, or to cancel my class time so that they can sit back and let the students do a scavenger hunt, or to tell me that if I want I can show videos in my class because that’s what they do to kill time, I kind of feel like a divorced parent. More specifically, a divorced mom who makes her kids eat their vegetables and do their homework and help with the chores. I’m the mean mom, and my male coworkers are the cool dads who buy their kids presents and show up once a month to take them skating or to an amusement park.
I don’t have time for that shit. I have actual content to teach them, carefully planned and scaffolded projects where they come to learn things on their own, confidence to help build, papers to score, meaningful shared learning experiences and conversations to be had.
I know that someday my students will appreciate the effort they put into my classes because I make them work hard, and the effort I put into planning and adapting my curriculum with their educational needs in mind. But it feels like today is not that day.