Monday, February 6, 2017

The teacher sees the students as "other", the students see the teacher as "other." My very first teaching job after I got my secondary teaching credential and Master's in secondary education was 60 miles north of where I lived in Grand Rapids, MI, in a very rural area, in a county that was the poorest in Michigan at the time and had the highest incidence of incest and child abuse. I taught in two different schools, parts of an alternative high school system. The first school was in Sand Lake, MI, for kids, mostly boys, who were kicked out of the regular high school for assaulting teachers and students, spray painting a teacher's car, shooting out the town's street lights, etc. There were a few girls who had gone missing from high school, one for a 100 days in a row, because they were being assaulted by boys at the school or by male stepfathers or boyfriends of their mothers. At night, I taught their mothers who were on welfare in a one stop town down the road called Howard City. In Michigan in the 80's, women who were on welfare were required to get their high school diplomas or GEDs in order to receive their welfare checks. These women struggled even to get there..once they enrolled in school their boyfriends or husbands either refused to bring them or consistently came home late with the car so they couldn't go. Several of us teachers would drive out in the country and get them, along with their 3, or 4 or 5 little children, who sat at the back of our classrooms and played, or caused a ruckus or colored. Many of these women didn't have running water and came dirty to class. These were poor white women, whose mothers and grandmothers and great grandmothers had been on welfare. I wasn't shocked, because I spent 3 years living in a barrio in southwestern Colorado, but at the same time, I knew they considered me "other", a woman who wore dress suits and nylons to school. And I would be a liar if i didn't say I saw their lives as "Other". They were trapped in their situations with abusive boyfriends, had often been molested by fathers and uncles growing up, lived in an area where there only jobs in the carrot fields in the fall and Christmas trees in late November. I taught there for three years, and i think about them every day.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Barbie Fulfills Her Feminist Vision

At the end of a unit on body image, eating disorders, media images of women and Barbie as a cultural icon, my students in Intro to Women Studies at Bowling Green State University bring Barbies and digital cameras and take Barbie out to fulfill a more feminist vision.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

My Review of Thin DVD

Originally submitted at HBO

The HBO Documentary film Thin takes us inside the walls of Renfrew Center, a residential facility for the treatment of women with eating disorders, closely following four young women (ages 15 - 30) who have spent their lives starving themselves, often to the verge of death. The film deftly chronicl...

Powerful, realistic look

By Dr. M from Bowling Green, OH on 11/9/2011


4out of 5

Pros: Eating disorders, Informative, Constructions of beauty, The Beauty Myth, Women's studies

Best Uses: Adult Viewers, Women's studies classes

Describe Yourself: Casual Viewer

I use this with my women's studies classes to break through the silence around eating disorders in college women. This film is shocking, realistic and confrontational and sparks strong discussion.


Thursday, March 4, 2010

The hunger for more

Over the last couple years, I am feeling the birth of a desire to more directly help relieve the pain and suffering of those most in need in the world. I have been teaching in college for the past 22 years and lately have experienced more and more students exhibiting a rudeness and discourtesy I would have never dreamed of performing for my own professors, or anyone else, for that matter. Mind you, this isn't a majority of my students...most are wonderful young men and women. But dealing with the obnoxious students is beginning to wear me down and make me feel that I am merely babysitting a bunch of over-entitled, over-privileged, and overgrown kids. I don't like feeling this way...I find it disturbing and disheartening. I feel less and less like what I am doing is worthwhile. I am beginning to think when I retire I will join the Peace Corps or some similar organization and try to take my skills where they will be truly useful.

Monday, September 14, 2009

The white rose..or finding things in your garden you did not expect

I have moved more times than I care to say and made gardens at all of them, including apartments. The items I have consistenly found over the years when I am digging are old marbles. It has come to be a sign of good luck for me to find them and I have a mason jar in my living room filled with them. I have yet to find one at my current home, but keep hoping. But the best treasure I uncovered happened like this:I was living in a 96 year old house in Grand Rapids, Michigan and was pregnant with my only child. There were some neighbor kids who kept cutting across my back yard through a hole in the fence and I located an old "granny gate" behind a neighbor's house, asked permission and dragged it home. I plugged the hole in the fence with it and when summer came, just before my son was born, a beautiful old-fashioned white rose grew up. My life was very difficult at this time, with an abusive husband, and that rose gave me new hope. My beautiful son was born soon after and eventually I was able to leave my husband and start a new life. That rose was such a gift.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

"I hate EBSCO"

My student Brian, very frustrated, said this to me yesterday as he was trying to find sources for his research assignment. Brian is angry about a few things right now. He has a crummy math teacher who doesn't teach, an art teacher who doesn't explain anything, and now there's EBSCO, which I think is the safety valve he can release. I know that I could have spent some time with him and suggested key words, but he was so worked up, I switched him over to Google Scholar, and we went through the whole keyword process he would have used in EBSCO and found a goodly number of scholarly articles. I also called up the math dept and set him up with an appointment to discuss his complaint, and he himself made an appointment to talk with the dean of his college, so I feel like he made some progress academically, even if he didn't use EBSCO to get there.a side note: the students, many of them, have taken to calling EBSCO, "ebesco." Very cute, i think. And the same day, many students showed me their EBSCO folders with new articles.