Is it really about what you know?

About eight weeks ago I wrote an open letter to my colleagues at Western University as part of the alternative “100 Days of Listening” tour curated at noahconfidenze.tumblr.com in response to the controversy surrounding the compensation packet of our president, Amit Chakma. Noah liked my post, and asked me back; this time around – why? Maybe it’s the humid summer air! – I’m feeling optimistic, and the tone of my letter (addressed to Dr Chakma this time) is forward looking. Call me a naive optimist if you like, but I still believe we have the chance to shift the neoliberal juggernaut driving through the heart of liberal arts education in Canada. This letter, reproduced below with Noah’s kind permission, suggests an important reason why we need to keep pressing the point.

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Dear Amit,

I’m writing today as a colleague who also loves stories. During your brief meeting with my colleagues in the Faculty of Arts and Humanities back in April, you talked a bit about your personal library, and about how much you valued having not only engineering books on your shelves there. I found your description of your library inspiring; it was a heartfelt reminder that we all need stories in our lives, in part because stories are the raw material we use to live our lives: to look backward, forward, and all around us as we plot our routes through the world.

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I’ve been thinking a lot about stories lately, even more than usual. As I’m a professor in English and Writing Studies, stories are my stock-in-trade; further, as I’m one of the founding faculty members in Theatre Studies at Western, stories for me are more than words on paper or even oral narratives; they are embodied tales of the worlds we inhabit, built in intimate collaboration with the other bodies and narratives that surround us. So stories are a huge part of my life.

My mother, however, is struggling these days to retain her stories. She is living with dementia, and more and more the stories she remembers cling to her like spring water, feeding her from the rivers of her past as she copes with each new disappointment in each new day. My mom never got a lot of education, though she was bright and full of potential; WWII got in her way, and then followed the quotidian vagaries of making a living and helping to support a family in the new world to which she fled. But I know that, had she gone to university, she would have been filled up with stories. And she would have carried those stories with her like treasures through her life.

My mom was a math whiz; she would not have gone into English or even into Theatre Studies. But I have no doubt that she would have taken loads of liberal arts courses, given her lifelong love of storytelling. And that’s something I’ve learned from her as she navigates this difficult new chapter in her life: that stories are not just for the English-oriented liberal arts kids, far from it. In a new article called “Changing How We Think About the Goals of Higher Education,” Chad Hanson, a sociologist at Casper College, argues that the most important take-aways students receive at university have little to do with the specific content they absorb, and much more to do with how they absorb it, and with what the nature of their learning experience helps them to discover about themselves. Hanson is arguing for a much broader approach to assessing student learning than cognitive science and similar mechanisms can gather; he is insisting on the social, rather than the statistical, value of storytelling to the way we measure what students carry with them as they walk across our stages at convocation.

I can attest to the common sense of Hanson’s argument. When I think back to my own undergraduate career, in the English Department at the University of Alberta in the middle 1990s, it’s not the names and dates of novels and characters I remember; it’s the teaching styles of the instructors I had, and it’s especially the debates about our world, our nation, politics and culture the stories we read provoked. Thanks to those experiences I, long bent on a career as an architect, turned to graduate school in the humanities instead, and then to a PhD in theatre studies. And thanks to those experiences I found I had a built-in model for how to teach effectively: when time came for me to step in front of a class of my own, I brought the nuts and bolts of my favourite instructors’ group workshops to bear on my own teaching practice.

Hanson writes:

When we think of students as a human form of capital, the view potentially restricts our intellectual terrain. We run the risk of limiting ourselves to questions about what students know or how they perform prescribed tasks. We lose sight of the notion that schools allow people to forge new selves.

Amit, regardless of the specific departments or faculties our students choose as a base for their university educations, all seek stories to propel themselves future-ward. And they seek the means to tell those stories, to navigate the tales of others, and to fashion from the mix of emotions and events that make up their university educations the ability to shape themselves into citizens. Those of us who teach in the Arts and Humanities are the ones who help with these challenges, who shape our learners into not just employees but also citizens. Hanson again:

Knowledge and skills are not necessarily the most important factors when it comes to the question of whom a business will hire. Picture a typical job interview. Employers rarely conduct knowledge or skills tests as part of the hiring process. An interview is an exercise in storytelling. Candidates are asked to tell the story of themselves: who they are, what they are like, where they have been, and what their futures hold in store.

There are a lot of reasons for Western to value preciously its faculty in the Arts and Humanities. And stories are a big one.

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Yours with respect,

Kim Solga

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Say yes to the dress? (Feminist edition)

A couple of weeks back I attended the annual Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences in Ottawa, Ontario; “Congress” is where one of my most valued professional associations, the Canadian Association for Theatre Research (CATR), meets each year. Unlike most conferences, CATR is good fun as well as productive: I get to see friends and colleagues I genuinely like, I get to hear brand-new research that is directly relevant to my own, I get to attend a bunch of important business meetings (OK: that’s not so much fun as just necessary, and nice to get over with), plus there’s always plenty of time for socialising with those cherished pals I haven’t seen for a while. Theatre and performance teachers and researchers from across Canada and beyond attend, and we all look forward to hanging out together and having a really good time.

I’m extremely fortunate to be part of a cohort filled with smart, wonderful female scholars. We all graduated with our PhDs about ten years ago (several of us from the Centre for Drama, Theatre, and Performance Studies at the University of Toronto), we have been lucky to get good academic jobs and then tenure, and now we find ourselves in the privileged position of being “mid-career”, acting as mentors to younger men and women coming up in our discipline today. We are also important supports to each other. In addition to being close friends, we also mentor and advise one another around the kinds of things mid-career professional women often face alone: coping with children alongside careers, managing work-life balance, struggling with partners and relationships with ageing parents. To say I respect, admire, and love these women is a complete understatement. In fact, I don’t have language adequately to describe what they mean to me.

This lovely group of women are all ardent feminists in our scholarship (check out some of our recent, award-winning work here, here, here, and here), as well as in our pedagogical practices and, as much as possible (which is to say, imperfectly), in our daily lives. We all identify as primarily heterosexual, and save for two of us we all have children. We are also, if I do say so myself, rather sartorially well turned out. One of our younger graduate student colleagues has nicknamed us “the well-dressed ladies of CATR,” a cheeky moniker that nevertheless makes me smile. Yet, during this most recent CATR conference, I found myself thinking critically about it – specifically about its teaching and mentorship implications – and I found myself worrying a bit about the possible side effects of the image we were collectively, though unintentionally, projecting.

Early on the first day of the conference we found ourselves attending a panel presentation headlined by two of us, Nikki Cesare Schotzko and Laura Levin. The rest were seated quite near the front. It was at this point, as I was glancing around, that I realised we all looked more or less the same. We were all wearing mid-length skirts or summer dresses; most were in heels or open-toed shoes displaying proper pedicures, nails brightly painted. Many of us had beautiful manicures, too – in short, we looked like a group of professional women dressed in a quite feminine style, or in what Alyssa Samek and Theresa Donofrio might call “academic drag” (more on that in a minute)*. On this day our choices stood out to me not because our outfits were unusual for us (they were not), nor because they somehow conflicted with our feminist beliefs and practices (I don’t believe they do), but rather because we seemed so totally uniform, as though we’d consulted one another on our outfits that morning (we hadn’t). I began to wonder if we’d unconsciously been influencing one another’s style over the years, as we’d shared our struggles and piled up our academic and professional successes. Then I thought in turn about how we might be influencing those we mentor now. Did we read as a unit – feminine, successful, privileged?  What might that message be saying to younger scholars looking to us as models?

Growing up, I was a tomboy. I favoured baggy clothes to hide what I believed was my fat, dumpy body. Neither “well-dressed” nor “lady” would have described me until about age 25, when thanks to a wonderful therapist and a generous friend who loved to shop I began to realise I enjoyed dressing in skirts and identifying at least partly in a feminine way. (NB: to identify as a woman is different from identifying as a feminine woman. There are lots of different ways to perform our gender!) I haven’t worried much about my sense of personal style since then; instead, I’ve enjoyed developing the woman I want to be by styling her accordingly. I own a lot of simple jersey dresses – they are a saving grace for travel! – but I also own a plethora of killer trousers, interesting shoes (flats, heels, boots; boxy, slim, hard-core, you name it [Fluevogs!]), superb spectacles, and plenty of cycling jerseys and shorts. I’m a lot of different things in my woman-ness – there are lots of different ways for me to embody the Kim I am, and my colourful closet proudly reflects that. But I suddenly realised, sitting in that panel presentation and looking around at my friends, that I haven’t been wearing my diversity in professional settings very much lately. And I started to wonder why.

(Here are four different Kims: in wintry Montreal; with Roberta Barker at the CATR banquet last month; in Napa Valley; and on Nanjizel Beach in West Cornwall [for all you Poldark fans]. Apologies for the shameless self-promotion!)

Technically, we're in Marché des Saveurs. I look like a supervillain!IMG_0163

Kim, Cindy's Backstreet Kitchen, St Helena, CA, 1 August 2010

Nanjizel beach!

“Academic drag” is a term Samek and Donofrio use to describe the practice of projecting a certain image of professional power and privilege in the academic workplace; both identify as queer, and both became interested in how “the maintenance of ‘professorial identities'” in their jobs meant marginalising the image of queerness that forms the basis of their scholarship and their extra-curricular lives. Provocatively, Samek and Donofrio argue that the liberal arts academy (in which my friends and I also work) is one of those places where talking the feminist/queer talk is often covertly separated from walking the feminist/queer walk; Samek, for example, speaks candidly about “cash[ing] in” on the power and privilege that comes with performing a conventionally feminine persona in the classroom, even though she identifies as a queer femme. (What’s a femme? Click here.) Wearing her straight white girl version of academic drag, Samek isn’t challenged about her sexuality or her gender identification by her students and colleagues, and she can move “unmarked” through the world in a way that a butch lesbian, a black woman, or a transperson simply cannot.

My love for my fab wardrobe aside, I have no doubt that I (like many women and some men I know and work with) have been practicing a form of academic drag for some time. I always make conscious choices about what to wear and when, and alongside asking myself if I am “in the mood” for this or that outfit (of course I do this – we all do!) I’m always mindful to note how my clothes will project confidence and power, or pleasantries and lack of threat, in the spaces through which I expect to move each day. (I recently experienced some angst about wearing my “feminist” headband in mixed public company, for example.) But I also suspect I’ve not been conscious enough about all or even most of the potential implications of my clothing choices for my studentsmany of whom are at an age where they may be experiencing the kind of identity-shifting moment in their own lives that I had when I was about 25, feeling like utter shit about myself and casting around for models to help me become something else.

What image of a successful and strong female university professor do I project? Looking around my classrooms I see a lot of young women in uniforms that signal “sexy young undergraduate girl”; plenty who dress in opposition to that uniform; and a few who, like me in my teens and early twenties, cover their bodies out of shame. When they look at me, do they see “successful woman = feminine woman” (the message sent by far too much professional drag, academic and otherwise)? Do they see my sartorial creativity, my cheeky love of colour? Or do they see a uniformity of image that I’ve become increasingly blind to? Students look at us: they observe our bodies, they sense who we are in large part by how we read, as a whole package, when we are teaching. (Women often get dress-related comments on teaching evaluations, for better and for worse; one among my group of friends gets high praise for her footwear, while another colleague gets troll-like comments about her affinity for trousers.) Our clothes, in other words, are part of the lesson. If we’re wearing “straight white girl” academic drag, the students notice and internalise that.

Watching my well-dressed cohort command the stage during CATR last month, then glancing around at all of the different ways our graduate students and younger colleagues style themselves, I realised that I for one need to make a more concerted effort to represent the variations in my own personal style when I am in front of my students, in order better to reflect who they might also want to become. Maybe my version of academic drag needs to leave the closet, too, and become a part of my classroom’s conversations, so that when I do wear a nice dress and a pair of heels I’m clear about why this outfit, and not another (because there’s always a reason). I want all of the young men and women I teach to look at me and know they can achieve what I have achieved, and that their style, whatever it is, should not (will not!) hold them back. And if it does, well: that just means we all need to fight harder against the coercive powers of professional drag.

Say yes to (more than) that dress!

Richmond Park glory/no snow!

Kim

*Thanks to Marlis Schweitzer for alerting me to this linked article!

Top Girls at the Shaw Festival, part 1: 1982 and all that

This year’s Shaw Festival, the big summer theatre event that takes place each year in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, features a new production of Caryl Churchill’s landmark feminist play from the Thatcher era, Top Girls, and I’m proud to say that I have written the program note for it. The play is a personal favourite of mine – I teach it most years, and I have seen several productions of it in the UK and in Canada. It’s also weirdly still topical: though it was written in 1982, near the beginning of what we might call late-modern neoliberal capitalism in Britain, it resonates even more loudly today because, well, neoliberalism is alive and kicking more of us in the ass than ever before. That’s what my program note is about, in fact: how Churchill’s “ball-busting” post/feminist icon, Marlene, seems as familiar as ever in 2015, and what we can and should learn from her today.

With kind permission of the Festival (and with big thanks to its dramaturg, Joanna Falck, who commissioned my essay) I’m reproducing the program note here; I’ll also do a review of the production (and the opening night dinner and party!) shortly after I see it later this month. Stay tuned.

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Top Girl Power

By Kim Solga

When I began teaching contemporary theatre to university students just over ten years ago, I put Caryl Churchill’s Top Girls on my syllabus even though I was certain that choice would prove to be a disaster. Churchill is one of the most important British playwrights living today, one of the most influential political playwrights in British history, and she is arguably the most significant British woman playwright of any generation; for students of the genre, her work is not to be missed. Top Girls, however, is a tricky play. Written in 1982, during the first wave of Margaret Thatcher’s power and influence, Top Girls is a child of its moment, steeped in Churchill’s strong brand of socialism and littered (like so many of Churchill’s major works of socialist realism, including Serious Money, first performed in 1987 and produced at the Shaw Festival in 2010) with topical references that can easily prove confusing for contemporary audiences. These things make the play a major historical drama, of course – no different from all of the other historical dramas we ask our students to read all the time – but that is not all this play is. It is also a work of ardent, forceful feminism, and in its unflinching representation of women’s lives on both ends of the socioeconomic spectrum it explores the unsavory possibility that feminism could not then, in 1982, and should not now, in 2015, be declared “over”, because too many women are still being left behind.

Top Girls snapshots a few days in the life of Marlene, a high-flying corporate executive who has just been promoted to Managing Director of the employment agency that shares the play’s name. In the famous first act, Marlene presides over a lavish dinner party celebrating her good fortune – a party to which she has invited a variety of notable female figures from history, mythology, art and literature. This set-up makes for one of the funniest, most memorable openings in modern theatre (pay attention to what each woman orders for dinner or dessert!), but as the evening progresses and everyone becomes more and more drunk, fault lines open up. Here, audiences may catch a first glimpse of Churchill’s larger dramaturgical strategy: sharp, dialectical irony. Marlene’s famous guests have been remembered by history for their female exceptionalism – Gret is a warrior; Joan outsmarts the smartest men in Europe; Isabella is an unstoppable adventurer – but it is precisely this specialness that makes them hilariously unsuitable for everything from small talk to political debate with other women. Each guest brings to Marlene’s table a unique and valuable perspective on what it means to live a woman’s life in different places and times, but things finally fall apart because not one of them is able to imagine what it’s really like to be anyone else in the room (least of all their waitress). These remarkable women, it turns out, are all remarkably self-important, and with the possible exception of Gret, the least articulate member of the group, they seem to have absolutely no idea what it means to be part of a female community.

Many of Caryl Churchill’s most celebrated plays were written over the course of the 1970s and 1980s, when she was playwright in residence at the Royal Court Theatre (1974-5) and when she collaborated regularly with the Joint Stock and Monstrous Regiment collectives, the latter an expressly feminist theatre group. Churchill has always openly declared her feminist affinities, but her plays combine feminist concerns for social and political equality with other forms of political commitment, making her work rich, multi-faceted, and broadly resonant for a range of viewers. Recent Churchill plays have explored issues as varied as ecological crisis (The Skriker, 1994; Far Away, 2000), the Israeli-Palestinian conflict (Seven Jewish Children, 2009), and human connectivity (or the lack thereof) in a fully digitized world (Love and Information, 2012). The work she was producing in the hot-house Thatcher years, however, focused primarily on the complicated relationship between gender and economic rights – on how, for example, women’s limited (but much celebrated) social, political, and economic gains through the 1980s were marching in lock-step with the radical shifts remaking postwar Britain in the image of neoliberalism. This is the model of government in which corporate rights and business interests are protected by the state above all, in the belief that private, for-profit firms will “trickle down” their wealth to employees and help achieve social equality more quickly and efficiently than any form of government could do.

We still live, today more than ever, with a bad neoliberal hangover, and the dangers neoliberal ideology holds for women in particular emerge subtly but skillfully in the middle act of Top Girls. The morning after the night before, Marlene arrives at work to a steady stream of women who would like to change their lives by changing their jobs. One by one she cuts them down; her appetite to raise other women up with her newfound power and influence proves much less ravenous than the one that devoured her steak at supper. Churchill skewers Marlene’s shortsightedness in her careful juxtaposition of scenes, a technique she adapts from the mid-century Marxist theatre director Bertolt Brecht, but Marlene is not ultimately an unlikeable character. As a political writer Churchill is far more interested in supporting debate than in scoring points, and by the play’s final act Marlene emerges as a profoundly flawed human being with a strong survival instinct and a reasoned, if not especially inclusive, political perspective. Those of us who sat through first her drunken dinner and then her bad day at work might be surprised to find we’re supporting Marlene as she fights back against her sister Joyce’s bitter clinging to old ways and an ugly martyrdom. And in many ways our support for Marlene, despite not really liking her very much, is Churchill’s point: political action requires us to hang together so that someday we can all reap the benefit, however different our ambitions may be.

I expected a lot of resistance to Top Girls’ feminism from my first students, both men and women, but they proved me wrong. Instead of complaining that Churchill’s politics are dated and polemical, they showed me how, like all good political drama, Top Girls is carefully rooted in a single place and time but is ultimately about so much more than that one place and time. After reading the play they wanted to talk about the word “feminism” and what it meant to them, and for them, in Canada in 2005. They wanted to talk about the claims made by “post-feminism”, and about the several other ways in which the death of feminist politics was being marketed daily to a generation of skeptical young people. They wanted to talk about the ongoing disparity in pay between men and women, especially in the professions, and they wanted to talk about how neither Marlene nor Joyce seems to have won any feminist battle, though neither seems able to offer the other any real empathy over their shared loss.

When my students and I read Top Girls today, ten years on, we talk about Laura Bates’ Everyday Sexism project (http://everydaysexism.com), about the play’s politics in light of increased discussion online and in the media around violence against women, and about feminism’s newfound popularity (cynical? sincere?) among certain Hollywood and pop music celebrities. We talk about Angie, Marlene’s young niece; she is left behind, written off, as many of my students, in this economy, fear they may be, too. We talk about the Occupy movement, about Idle No More, and about the various ways in which resistance to social and economic status quos is being spearheaded today by energized, organized young people who refuse to take systemic sexual abuse, racial profiling, or poor economic prospects lying down. These young men and women insist that a better world will be built through strength in numbers and a faith in common bonds; for them, Top Girls is far from historically dated and ideologically irrelevant. It is our contemporary, and its politics are smart, funny, and urgent.

Enjoy the show!

Kim

Reflecting on the academic year that was, part four (A Teaching Assistant’s POV)

GUEST POST By Madison Bettle

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In 2010, I began my graduate studies at Western University. I finished my MA in English in 2011 and began my PhD a few months later. I’ve had multiple TAships over the years: Science Fiction, Detective Fiction, Narrative Theory (for first years), Jane Austen in Popular Culture, as well as 19C British literature. In these classes, I presented hour to hour-and-a-half long lectures. Over the years, I’ve also had the chance to do many “pocket lectures” (brief 10-15 minute lectures in the middle of a class, something I continued to do in Dr. Solga’s class). One of the most useful experiences I had was when I was given tutorials to run for Narrative Theory. I was able to design different learning exercises (such as asking my students to watch Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax – the original – and then requiring each group to respond to it using a specific literary theory: for example, Marxism, Postcolonialism, Ecocriticism, etc). I suppose my inspiration for “group work” exercises stemmed from this class (and I eventually got to apply my ideas in Kim’s classroom).

My research areas are Victorian and Postcolonial literatures, though I have “tertiary” interests in Austen and Postcolonial Ecocriticism. If someone asked me tomorrow to teach a course on Austen, I could do it without missing a beat. I’m currently TAing for an online first year class and we’re studying Austen’s Northanger Abbey right now. Great way to spend one’s summer!

My dissertation focuses specifically on masculine trauma, 19th Century adventure fiction (such as that by Joseph Conrad, author of Heart of Darkness, among other books), and the Indian Mutiny of 1857. I spend most of my days poring over historical manuscripts that specifically reference or recall the Mutiny in order to prove that adventure fiction writers, even 40 years later, were still haunted by the event. Nothing beats getting to reference “the horror, the horror” in daily conversations!

As Kim’s Teaching Assistant for 20th Century Drama this year, I spent most of the time outside of my comfort zone (and loving it). When I was first assigned this TAship last summer, my initial concern was that I wasn’t going to be a good enough resource for the students. They’d surely “sniff out” that I didn’t belong there.

However, after Kim dubbed me our “expert learner” I felt better about my role in the classroom. Based on my past experiences with different online platforms such as Twitter and Tumblr, I decided that the most effective way to help students (since I didn’t have a tutorial) was to use the resource already there: the class’s wordpress blog.

As Kim mentioned in a recent post on this blog, I created the “Supplementary Course Reader” tab in order to “reach out” to students and feel more involved in the class. I also had the opportunity to present multiple pocket lectures throughout the year, many based on posts I’d write for the Reader.

The Reader served multiple functions:

  • It provided a space for me to write down my “first impressions” of the assigned readings. Like the students, I was reading the material for the first time. Students often told me that seeing my initial impressions helped them shape their own approaches to the text as time went on. More often than not, Teaching Assistants are assigned courses outside their own area. For those looking for ways to still contribute to the classroom and student learning, I highly recommend this option.
  •  My posts took a number of forms: critical summaries, my own questions, additional research I discovered, and even a few informal essays I wrote in response to the course material. I changed it up every so often because I knew students wouldn’t necessarily have the time to read more extensive posts (and I sometimes didn’t have enough time to do more). Additionally, each student learns differently: some need summary, some struggle with asking the right questions, and some need help moving beyond the material itself. A “Supplementary Reader” isn’t more information students “need” to know; the Reader provides students the tools to better appreciate and understand the primary material they’re reading. In fact, I was rewarded by my efforts as one of my students approached me after I posted about language in Maria Kizito; she told me she was inspired by the lesson and then chose to write her final paper exploring the issue. I’m very happy to say that student was recently accepted into the English MA program at Western.
  • “Historical Background”. Given the vast amount of history touched on in the many plays we read this year, there was a ton of information that students wouldn’t necessarily be aware of, nor would they have time to learn about it formally in class. Some of my posts, especially regarding Residential schools in Canada (in relation to Tara Beagan’s play, Miss Julie: Sheh’mah), the AIDS crisis (for our week on DNA Theatre’s The Last Supper), and the Rwandan genocide (for Maria Kizito, as well as for Michael Redhill’s Goodness), provided historical information rather than an “argument” in relation to the primary texts. I was happy to see students draw on the information they learned from the Reader in their own class presentations, particularly in the “Peer Teach” exercises that I helped lead in our class.

While all posts were extremely interesting to research and write, my favourite by far was my very first post on A Doll’s House, the first play listed on the course syllabus. As someone who specializes in the nineteenth century, it meant a lot to me to be able to share my knowledge of my own area with the students at the very beginning of the year. I was able to demonstrate (despite my lack of background in 20th Century Drama) that I could still talk about relevant course themes in critical ways.

In Kim’s post on May 19, she suggested asking students to create their own Supplementary Course Reader as a way for them to engage with the course material. I am thoroughly on board with this idea, as I think, once students get the hang of it, it is a great (and safe) space for them to push their knowledge of course material beyond the course itself.

Moving the discussion of the Supplementary Course Reader in another direction, however, I’d like to end this post on issues relating specifically to Teaching Assistants. Many of you reading this are most likely academics or teachers. You went through graduate school and were may have been a Teaching Assistant yourself. The dynamic between Professors and Teaching Assistants is something many institutions are still trying to get “right”. I’ve heard some horror stories over the years from colleagues and I can’t tell you how grateful I am to have had such positive experiences.

However, while all my experiences for the past five years have been positive, no TA assignment afforded me with as much opportunity, knowledge, and pleasure as my recent TAship with Kim. Although she was under no obligation to include me to the extent that she did, her willingness to support my individual learning and teaching pedagogy gave me the necessary expertise and confidence to one day teach my own course.

My Supplementary Course Reader, therefore, was more than just a resource for our 20th Century Drama students; it is a testament to Kim’s treatment of me as an equal, and for that I am forever grateful. In these uncertain times for Graduate students, I can only hope that other Professors look to their Teaching Assistants the way Kim looked to me. I also hope that one day (should I ever become a Professor) I might inspire in my Teaching Assistants the same passion for an area outside their own research that Kim instilled in me.

Madison Bettle