Co-Teaching Part II: Is Co-teaching Always a Good Idea?

This is part two of a two-part post on co-teaching. In the first post, Kim reflected on the importance of getting to know your collaborators in co-teaching projects. Here, research fellow Stephanie Dennie reflects on co-teaching best practices.

All hands on deck for co-teaching.

I’ve been working with Kim since fall of 2021 as a graduate fellow, supporting her and a colleague (Leora Swartzmann) as they try to build a co-teaching relationship across two related classes in two different faculties. This post reflects on what I’ve learned about best practices in co-teaching so far as part of my work with Kim and Leora.

A few things about me, perhaps, to get us started. I’m a doctoral candidate in the department of Classics at Western University. I teach and have taught both here and at Brock University, I have a passion for learning about teaching and learning in higher education – especially how creativity and interdisciplinarity fit into that practice.

In Classics I study the political, social, and cultural history of Sparta. My dissertation focuses on the use of social memory in civic performances to support the ruling families of Archaic and Classical Sparta. I’m very into how words and stories about the past, invented or not, are used for a particular benefit, nefarious or not, in the present, historical or not.

A picture of Stephanie

In my work with Kim, I mostly conduct research, perform administrative/organizational tasks, and observe. What am I observing? Kim and Leora, coteaching undergraduate students in theatre studies and community psychology in a class that has a community engaged learning component (CEL, Western calls it). This is not your average coteaching adventure, mind you, given that Leora’s class is a third-year, full credit course run over both the fall and winter semesters and Kim’s class is a second year, half credit course run in the winter term only. Additionally, the courses have their own course codes, syllabi, assessments, and classrooms. Highly unusual, indeed.

Interdisciplinary coteaching: What is it? Well, coteaching it is an educational process in which at least two instructors, sometimes more, participate in the planning and execution of a course.

The interdisciplinary aspect stipulates that this cotaught course, at its core, has an interdisciplinary focus, meaning the topic of the course is freed from the disciplinary bonds that so often bind us and opens the students (and instructors) up to different disciplinary approaches to a shared topic; ‘inter,’ a Latin prefix indicating reciprocity of some kind, often translated to mean ‘between,’ or ‘among,’ and disciplinary, the adjectival form of discipline, derived from the Latin noun disciplina meaning both learning/instruction and training/discipline (i.e., in a military or athletic context). So, inter-disciplinary, also an adjective, describes the noun it is paired with, here coteaching, meaning that the coteaching is characterized as participating in reciprocal instruction between/among different categories of learning/instruction/training.

The web of interdisciplinarity

What does it do? Interdisciplinary coteaching challenges both instructors and students to think outside of their own “area of expertise” to consider the interconnectedness of the phenomenon that is life happening around us right now. It also asks students and instructors to be curious in a broad sense that often makes us uncomfortable largely because of learned stigmas that inherently devalue other disciplinary perspectives or methods of knowing.

Throughout the last eight months of research and observation I have been seriously thinking about the practice of co-teaching. How do you do it effectively and equitably? I have begun to devise something I am rudimentarily calling the 5 Ws of co-teaching. Yes, I am going back to primary school when I first learned about how to analyse a story. My teacher said you need to identify the five Ws – who, what, when, where, and why.

One of the things I have encountered in my research and observations is that there is a great deal of optimism about coteaching – as well as enthusiasm – but there is little understanding of how to channel that into an effective coteaching relationship that is not formed anecdotally. For example, Leora and Kim met and began working together out of happenstance, not really thinking about, nor needing to think about at the time, what it meant for them to engage in a coteaching practice together.

The short, but key, questions

Thinking about the five Ws can provide a good starting point when considering whether or not to coteach, or in troubleshooting existing coteaching partnerships.

Who: starting interdisciplinary co-teaching partnerships

Partnerships are hard and coteaching requires a good one. Unfortunately, it is not enough for the instructors to be enthusiastic about coteaching for the cotaught class to be a success. You need a partnership that has a strong foundation in teaching and learning that you have actively developed. Some have suggested speed-dating.

Two horses drink from their water bar. One might muse, an archaeologist and a mathematician walk up to a bar…

At one university they had all the instructors who were interested in coteaching attend a speed-dating session in which they met to determine if they had a pedagogical and social ‘spark.’ Then, those who matched with one another, had extended meetings in which they discussed their approach to teaching, pet-peeves in the classroom, assessment strategies, how they thought about their relationship with their students, how they dealt with disruptions in the classroom, and the list goes on and on.

If they still wanted to see one another after this process, they might then consider problem-solving strategies and how they would navigate the differences they would inevitably encounter given their different approaches to teaching and learning so that the experience would be good for both them and the students.

All this is to say one does not simply walk into a co-teaching relationship.

That being said, some do. (Kim and Leora did! Yikes!) And that means it is important to, when possible, re-evaluate the coteaching partnership and ask these important, fundamental questions about pedagogical approaches and teaching philosophies. (Facilitating these discussions is another thing I do in my work with Kim and Leora.)

Working together already means that you have a foundation upon which you can build strategies to manage the differences that have already emerged. BUT, you must talk about the differences to understand their origin – this is where the magical growth for instructors happens, so don’t skip it.

Why and What: why is interdisciplinary learning in THIS CLASS important and what is it going to bring to the course that wouldn’t already be there in a more conventional format?

In order for a cotaught class to be successful, meaning the instructors and students both benefit, the instructors need to be able to clearly articulate an answer to the above question. Interdisciplinary learning will provide something new to a course, but most students report that the purpose of the partnership for their learning in the course needs to be explicit and do something novel for their learning.

We certainly encountered this for ourselves this term. The students felt uncertain about how the disciplinary knowledge of each instructor contributed to the outcomes of their individual courses. Again, Kim and Leora face an additional challenge in that their courses do not run simultaneously (meaning one is a full year and the other is one term) and they are administratively separate (i.e., separate course codes, syllabi, assessment, etc.).

To navigate this challenge, what we learned is the importance of clarity and to some extent uniformity for the students. The resources for both classes, we realized, need to have some overlap that reflects a clear reason for the partnership that works for both groups of students. It isn’t about explaining the partnership through the disciplinary perspective of each group, it’s about communicating a universal purpose to the students, period. And, most importantly, the purpose of the interdisciplinary learning needs to bring something unique to the table for the students – if the students in the class can get the same result without the coteaching/interdisciplinary aspect, then the course is missing the mark.

When and Where: Your classroom or mine?

Maybe you are interested in coteaching, and you have found the perfect partner who doesn’t think like you and doesn’t teach like you, but you feel confident you have developed great strategies for navigating those differences. Also, you have a great topic and have articulated why it is important to do and what it will bring to your students’ learning experience. Great! The only thing left is when and where?

Resource management

The biggest challenge, even more so than the time it takes to properly plan and prepare for co-teaching, is the institutional limitations that hinder and often prevent instructors from engaging in this enriching experiment. If you are not both full-time tenured faculty members, it is unlikely you will be able to engage in coteaching without some serious challenges. Most publications regarding interdisciplinary coteaching begin and end by emphasising the benefits versus the limitations of the institution to realize those benefits.

This is one of the biggest limitations Leora and Kim face in their coteaching. I have seen it in the organizational aspects of the course: the very fact that the courses are two separate courses shows this. There are time constraints due to the way courses are traditionally divided in the university’s scheduling system, there are limitations to funding and, again, the time needed to properly prepare a course of this nature requires more institutional support.

Bottom lines

While observing Kim and Leora in their interdisciplinary coteaching and conducting a literature review on co-teaching best practices and interdisciplinary learning I kept thinking the same thing, “Wow, co-teaching seems so great, but is it always a good idea?”

The short answer is: absolutely not!

– Spongebob happily presents my simple response, No! Absolutely not! with a rainbow.

Why? While research on coteaching in general and coteaching across disciplines specifically demonstrates that there are several benefits for both students and instructors, there are also serious challenges. For instructors, successful coteaching takes a great deal of planning and reflection. The process can be uncomfortable and makes you seriously question your own teaching style and philosophy. You cannot simply be willing and enthusiastic; it is an emotional, intellectual, and laborious commitment.

This is a somewhat pessimistic note to end my reflection on, but it is of the utmost importance to realize that although research shows that interdisciplinary teaching and learning has enormous benefits for both instructors and students, it is the institutions themselves and their organization that limits us most from tapping into the great potential that is coteaching.

This is precisely what makes participating in coteaching an act of activism in the classroom: it doesn’t fit the institutions model of knowing and, therefore, it is difficult to do, but I think we should still do it with the caveat that we push to be able to do it the right way and for the right reasons, not just because we want to.

On deadlines and what to do about them

Last week was reading week at my institution. Mostly, my inbox was refreshingly quiet. But, in the smattering of student emails I did receive, there was a common theme: deadlines. What, precisely, was required before the deadline? What are the penalties for a missed deadline? Could I extend the deadline? So. Many. Questions. About. Deadlines.

Except for one my larger courses, the classes I teach involve essay- or project-based evaluation. So, the last six weeks of term are brimming with deadlines: proposal deadlines, group work deadlines, final project deadlines (oh my)!

A scrabble board with students’ least favourite word: “deadline”

For the last few semesters, I have been progressively flummoxed by what to do with deadlines.

The vectors of my problem are thus:

  • Deadlines are a necessary of writing projects. Whether submitted for evaluation or publication, writing projects need to be completed—and ideally sent into the world—at some point.
  • Deadlines are a centrifugal force in the operations of a university calendar. Application deadlines! Deadlines for course withdrawal! Deadlines for grade submission! So. Many. Deadlines.
  • Every writer, everywhere on the planet, has failed to hit a deadline at some point. Okay, maybe, not every writer. But, most writers. Because, writing processes are amorphous. And, for many folks, writing is balanced alongside the rest of life. Which means: deadlines missed.

And, in my role as a university teacher, all these issues bump into one another. So, setting and enforcing deadlines turns out to be part of the evaluative aspect of my job – whether I like it or not!

Charlie Brown expresses Kelsey’s precise feeling about deadlines.

And here’s the thing: except for some of my professionally oriented classes—where writing to deadlines is part of the curriculum—being able to submit work on time often is often separate from the course’s learning objectives.

Knowing this, I have occasionally wondered: Is there an alternative?

Is there a different, better, way of handling due dates?

Then, I remember one of my early experiences as a teaching assistant.

The professor in charge did not believe in deadlines. Work was assigned throughout semester and submission times were suggested, but students did not have to submit any work until the end of semester. I thought: What a radical —or at least interesting— idea!

In practice, not so much. For starters, a cluster of students received no feedback during semester. On top of that, several students left all their work until the end of the course and then ran out of time to complete it, resulting in them failing a very passable class.

One could argue—as the professor did—that this was the students’ fault. They should have managed their time better! Which, yes, sure. But, students exist in a neo-liberal schooling system, where they are expected to divide their energy between multiple courses that are not at all coordinated alongside the rest of their lives. So, of course that deadline-less work gets pushed back! And, also, you know: it’s not great pedagogy to give students zero feedback or grades throughout semester.

Knowing that I need to have them, I have experimented with various deadline strategies over time:

  •             I have tried firmer deadlines with stricter penalties.
  •             I have offered students the opportunity to choose between deadline dates.
  •             I have reduced or scaled late penalties.
  •             I have given students a built-in grade period between deadlines and penalties.
  • I have offered a “late token” for the semester.
  •             I have tried very hard to reduce the shame around late submissions.

Thus far, I have found that policies that are too strict over-emphasize the importance of hitting deadlines and cause undue stress.

Policies that are too flexible, on the other hand, tend to get ignored, which eventually leads to marking build up for me it also put students in a precarious submission when university-wide grade submission deadlines come into play.

Currently, I have landed on a system that combines several of these strategies. I offer a built-in grace period on all submissions. I also have a scaled penalty system wherein marks are deducted more significantly near the deadline but are reduced as time goes on.

I also have a generous accommodation policy that supports student and helps them distinguish between unforeseen, or reasonably challenging circumstances, and poor time management.

Light green accurately reflects how Kelsey would grade her own deadline performance

But, deadlines are still causing me problems.

In one of my project-based classes—where hitting deadlines is part of the learning objectives—students complete a writing assignment which is, then, edited by their peers.

Because of the state of deadlines more generally, I’m having a heck of a time communicating the difference between deadlines. Because, let’s be honest: in both the classroom and outside of it, some deadlines matter and other do not.

At university, most work will receive a grade … eventually. This is the same in the professional world, where many missed deadlines don’t have real world effects, beyond annoying someone. (Consider, for example, how infrequently academics hit writing and editing deadlines!)

Don’t tell my students, but the secret of deadlines is that most of them don’t actually matter

That is not the case in this class. Editors need work to complete projects, and the class moves quickly because there is lots to do.

“These deadlines,” I say, motioning at the syllabus exaggeratedly. “Do matter. Because they impact someone that isn’t the teacher.”

The students nod seriously. And then several students submit their work late. Which: sighs.

The missed deadlines are throwing some roadblocks in the class, which is making extra work for me.

At the same time, as semester rolls onward, there does seem to be progress.

On this last round of assignments, I had more than one student commit to submitting work to their peers but ask me for an extension in terms of my evaluation of that work. This suggests that they are beginning to be able to differentiate between different types of deadlines.

So, even though its rockier than I’d like, perhaps allowing students to experience practical—rather than evaluative—effects of missing due dates is contributing to their learning.

And it leaves me wondering if building in practical dimensions to work submission might better support students writing processes more generally.

As per usual, any thoughts on how you handle deadlines are most welcome!

Revisiting Warm-ups: Winter Teaching Moves for the Ages

It is late January, which means that many parts of Canada — no, we know Vancouver, not you — are covered in snow and filled with impossible frigid air.

And so, what better time than to revisit Kim’s post on warm-up exercises, originally posted in 2018. The post both mirrors Kim’s current return from a sabbatical (fun!) and also offers a very practical activity to jostle the mid-winter blues at the beginning of class.

Stay warm out there folks!


Post-sabbatical re-entry is a #*%$&%$. There’s no other way to say it. The office is dusty; the plant is very, very unhappy. Your colleagues only barely remember you. None of the students look familiar: what they look is cold, tired, and not quite ready for January.

But neither are you, so it’s a wash. UGH.

After a week of this, I was officially exhausted: the mental and emotional energy required to sustain a class that has little to give back is a lot even in the warmest, brightest months; in the cold months with lots of snow, strong wind chills, early darkness, and DID I MENTION THE COLD??? – it’s enough to make you think this:


So while I was prepping for week two, I remembered a recent Tomorrow’s Professor post I’d read about different ways to warm a class up before getting started with the day’s proper labour. And I thought to myself:

Yup, I could use a nice warm-up, alright.

So I programmed a couple in. Here’s what happened.


I use warm-ups in studio classes all the time, but in seminars they are not conventional. In lecture classes they are DOWNRIGHT WEIRD.

But I live for weird, man.

In my first class on Thursday (students = 12), I had only an hour, so a full-body check-in was not on the cards; you need at least 10 precious minutes for that. Instead, I took a page from the post and did a seated, basic, mental-state warm-up.

First, I asked everyone to say their names. (It’s week 2; do you know each other’s names yet? I didn’t think so. And neither do I!)

Then, we all had to complete this sentence: today, I am feeling XXX.

I started: I’m Kim, I’m the prof, and today I am feeling engulfed by chaos.


(I googled “engulfed by chaos”, and this image of David Davis was THE FIRST thing that appeared. I am not making this up.)

As we went around the tables, we got some compelling answers: I’m feeling like a million bucks! (OMG, hooray!). I’m feeling extremely embarrassed. I’m feeling excited for the weekend. I’m feeling … busy.


The Serious Professor part of my brain always tries to tell the rest of the brain, when I get tempted to warm stuff up, that it’s a waste of time. After all, we have so much Important Stuff to cover!

But here’s the truth of the thing: we had so much better a class after five minutes of sharing our feelings-in-the-moment than we had had on the previous three days, I could not help but assume a corollary. This tiny task, after all, not only humanizes us all (profs included); it bonds us.

We become a community.

In my second class, we had two hours – of Aristotle FOR CHRIST’S SAKE – and in a windowless room to boot. (I find it painful to recall that on my “to do different” list for 2018 in this particular class, top of the list was “find a room with windows!”. I mean, What The Holy Fuck, people! How can there be classrooms with no windows that have not yet been decimated? What year is this? What planet am I on?)

Which means: we really needed to warm up.

This second group is twice the size of the first one (students = 21), and god knows their names are not yet in my brain. So I seized this chance to play a name game, one I gleaned from a talk the phenomenal deaf artist Jenny Sealey gave at Queen Mary University of London this past June.

First, we gathered in a circle in the middle of the windowless, airless room. We all closed our eyes. The brief: imagine your sign-language name, the gesture that says: YOU. Then, make it.

Next, we went around the circle and said our names and made our signs. We repeated each others’ signs for good measure. So far, so manageable.

The third step, though, was the charm: starting to my left, each student had to say the name and make the sign of the person(s) before them, and then their own. The unlucky folks on my right had to do this for almost everybody – and then I paid the piper by doing every single student’s name and sign.

In fact, to be totally fair, we all made each other’s signs along the way, supporting each new student/victim in the queue; in this way, I made Taylor’s diving gesture, and Thomas’s bright flower, and Kylie’s heart, a whole bunch of times. By the time we were at my turn (big, crazy jazz hands, if you must know), it was easy – and everyone was laughing and clapping.

And, once more, we had a way, WAY more energized and interesting class than any of the three preceding ones.

Warm-ups don’t always work: the novelty wears off, the movement gets fatiguing by the time everyone is tired in the middle of term. But at their best they are ways to re-energize a listless group, or a listless teacher, and a great, fun way to make a class into a bonded community, even if only temporarily. Better learning is not guaranteed, but it’s definitely a possibility.

On that basis alone, warm-ups make for terrific pedagogy.

Stay cool!


Fret less, teach better – and feel better (is it really that easy?)

Activist Classroom Reader, we have made it to December 2021 … which feels even more surreal than usual.

In writing my last post, I reflected on self doubt in my teaching this semester. As part of my writing, I did a search through the AC archives to see what Kim had written. And, behold! She had some really helpful musings on “failure,” prep, and self doubt from 2015 (!).

I found the post really helpful — both emotionally (teaching solidarity across time!) and practically. It also has the wonderful line “prep is the thief of time.”

In hopes that you, too, might find the post helpful, I’ve re-posted it below.


So it finally happened: I had my first epic fail of the term. Bertolt Brecht and Antonin Artaud were on the roster in Performance Theory this week, and on Tuesday our job was to get some preliminary definitions of their main stuff (“Epic Theatre” and “Theatre of Cruelty”, for those of you who are not already theatre geeks) on the table. We did a brainstorming exercise at the white board, which went fairly well. Then, according to my prep, we were supposed to do this:


Usually, I like a nice debrief. We talk about what we’ve been discussing/writing/sharing on our own/in groups/in pairs, and exciting new insights emerge. I jump around and get exercised about the groovy things the students have discovered; we laugh at my shenanigans, and then we learn.

This week, however, when I looked toward the white board the temperature inside my body suddenly rose a couple of degrees. It may have been that southwestern Ontario is unseasonably warm this week, and the building in which I work is ill equipped to handle autumnal climate fluctuations; or perhaps I had finally succumbed to a combination of Prof Flu and Plane Flu (I was in the UK last week; more on that in my next post). Anyway, the result was the same: blank of blanks.

Somehow, we got through Artaud. But I left Brecht – Brecht! My hero! – on the floor. A big, flat, dialectical dud in the middle of the sweaty room.

Class ended with me asking the students (all of whom are always so game to just go with what comes out of my mouth at any given moment – bless!) to free-write for two minutes in response to the Brecht reading they’d completed. I then ran away to my office and cowered behind the recycling bin for a bit, weeping. The pressure immediately to dive into my prep for Thursday and re-write ALL OF IT was overwhelming. But I resisted.

I’ve written before on the blog about epic classroom fails, and about the power of just throwing the damn prep away in order to improvise in the moment. I’ve also been concerned recently with “prep creep,” and with it my looming anxiety that I’m spending too much of my (increasingly precious) work time on prep. All of this occurred to me as I cringed at the memory of Tuesday afternoon.

There was a time when I would absolutely, without question, have gone home and rewritten the heck out of Thursday’s prep – anything to give myself the impression that I was “ready” to “fix” the problems that had arisen on Tuesday. Instead, this week – mindful of my crazy workload, of the power of prep creep, and of the fact that much of what went wrong on Tuesday had exactly nothing to do with my preparedness, and everything to do with what I was feeling (exhausted; a bit sick) – I simply said: fuck it.

I reminded myself: Thursday’s class is already pretty well planned. I’m going to forget about this one, bad day; I’m going to go back on Thursday and regroup; I’m going to do a version of what I’ve already planned, and it’s going to be Just Fine.

And here’s the shocker: it WAS fine!

I arrived to class Thursday afternoon and asked the students to share what they’d written at the end of Tuesday’s class. There was some really good material on offer, and we chatted for a bit about the ins and outs of Brecht’s theory. Then, I turned back to my prep, which called for us to watch two very different performances…

(Buffy is SO BRECHT. No, really.)

(Societas Raffaello Sanzio… freaking everybody out, but in a good way)

… and then to connect them to Brecht and Artaud, respectively. The students responded to the performances with enthusiasm, disquiet, and real verve. I trusted myself in the moment to make the connections I already knew were there, and to speak with passion about two theatre practitioners with whose work I’m well familiar. In short, I trusted the students, and I trusted me too. I glanced a few times at my prep document (of course I did!) but mostly I went off-piste, letting the students’ reactions guide our discussion. And it was absolutely fine. It was more than fine, in fact: we had a terrific class.

Prep is the thief of time: it is necessary, of course – but it’s also so, so easy to delude ourselves, on really bad days, into thinking that more and more prep will make a better and better class next time out. But will it? Is that “better” class really better for the students in the room, or does it just appear to be better from the perspective of the struggling teacher who strives to regain control over his or her feelings about the class, about how things are going?

This week I decided to wing it: partly out of desperation, and partly out of a small confidence that I knew my stuff well enough to get away with winging it. In the process, I realised that I need to trust myself more, full stop. The prep is there as a fail-safe, a backup, but let’s face it: I’m well trained in this work, and I need to be confident that I can communicate it to students – and have compelling conversations with them about it! – without a whole bunch of paperwork, and anxiety, getting in the way.

Why it’s taken so long for me to absorb this fundamental truth I have no idea; I chalk it up to the power of imposter syndrome. But truly, it’s been such a relief to realise, this week, that I did NOT need to do more work to salvage the class; all I needed to do was show up, be present and committed, and bring what I already had on hand to the table.



Self-Doubt Sneaks Into the Classroom

As I was teaching yesterday, I glanced out the window and noticed snow falling from the sky.

“Something winter this way comes,” I announced to my class. They looked out the window with end-of-term-tired eyes and nodded.

The first snow of winter fell while Kelsey was teaching, which was surely some kind of metaphor.

I took the pause to check the little clock on the corner of my computer screen: still over an hour left. Would my plan for the rest of the class be enough to fill the time? I flicked through my lecture notes and performed imaginary math in my head: short lecture plus group activity plus class-wide conversation equals ….

Then, I noticed the students looking at me expectantly: the burst of wonder of the first snowfall had worn off. I dropped the math and picked up the lecture.

Time: ever the menace.

This is not the only time that I’ve got myself calculating time this semester. This fall, more than any other, I’ve found myself haunted by the ghost of teaching near-future. “Are you ready for class?” she whispers nervously. “Are you sure you have enough material?”

I’m not a teaching veteran like Kim. But, I’m not new anymore either. Why am I pestered by these thoughts now?

“It’s because you’re a little out of field,” I’ve told myself. Which is true. Even though I’m very qualified for my current course load, I haven’t taught in some of these subject areas in years. And, sure, I taught all of my current courses on zoom last year. But, this year is different: I’m in person; the time slots are longer, and there are LIVE HUMANS in front of me.

For most of the fall, this was my answer. But, as I asked myself this question after the first snow of winter, another thought crossed my mind: it’s because you’re scared of being found out.


Even in scrabble, it feels like doubt should have a higher word score.

I have been around long enough to know: that’s the voice of imposter syndrome.

Imposter syndrome—the nagging feeling of doubting capacity and feeling like a fraud at work—has become something of a buzz word in the last ten years. And, its worthwhile to think critically about the term.

As Ruchika Tulshy and Jodi-Ann Burey argue, “imposter syndrome” is often used in relation to women and people of colour. The reasons for this, the authors suggest, are largely systemic and the solutions, therefore, should also target systems and structures.

Nevertheless, the concept helped me identify a specific kind of doubt, one that crept unnoticed into my pscyhe. And, it’s the unnoticed part that I find the most discomforting. Because, as a rule, my inner narrator is positive or neutral. Sure, I can lapse when I’m stressed but generally my conscious thoughts are constructive.

So, rather than thinking “I’m not capable of doing this” or “I’m a fraud,” I’ve been casually organizing a chunk of my teaching life – extra prep time, constant in-class stress – around feelings of fear and doubt.

My self-doubt, it turns out, is sneaky. She has burrowed beneath my conscious thoughts, where she can influence my actions

Self-doubt tip tip toeing into my body.

Which: of course! I KNOW that one of the most impactful manifestations of power is when it hides itself within bodies so that thoughts and actions appear naturalized. And even though I think and talk and teach about power and bodies all the time, I forgot that systems of power don’t only effect abstract bodies, they impact MY BODY.

The good news is, that, precisely because I teach and talk and think about power so frequently, I have a toolkit for counteracting power structures.

I’m currently working on re-orienting my actions and habits by resisting the urge to do more prep, by being okay with “not perfect” classes, by encouraging more participating from students. And, in doing a bit of digging, I found some of Kim’s old posts, which offer great insights (and some cross-temporal emotional companionship) on these subjects.

For our next post, we’ll feature one of these older posts.

In the meantime, I’m going to do a little searching, to see other not-so-helpful-feeling have burrowed their way into my actions so that I can do the work of promptly exhuming them.