The kids who take my gender studies class are not going to be gender scholars. Most of them are pursuing careers in the health and human services. They are psych majors, social workers, nursing students, and education majors. Many of them are older than traditional students. They all work and some of them have children.
(I still call them kids.)
Their spelling is lousy, and most of them can’t use apostrophes correctly to save their lives. The last bit, especially, drives me a bit crazy. But they are not in my class to become copyeditors. They are filling general education requirements. So my job is to teach them critical thinking.
I read somewhere that students retain about two things from an hour-long lecture. This is why teachers are encouraged to set learning outcomes and teach to them rather than to go into immense esoteric detail.
My students get it. They bristle at how stereotypically gendered toy stores are. They see that transgendered people are asked ridiculously invasive questions. They understand that gender is a process. They bring me advertisements, articles, and scraps of facts they learn on facebook as examples.
They know more about class than race, or at least they are more comfortable talking about class than race. They analyze culture in simple terms, but they understand the overarching concept that I’m trying to get them to learn each week.
I’m so proud of them. I’m a mama hen clucking around like an idiot. I don’t need them to read Judith Butler. I really don’t see that as a goal of the class. I just want them to be able to look at a superbowl ad and deconstruct it to their friends.
What makes you proud?