We Are Family: My Problem is Your Problem

In preparing to write this week, I boogied down memory lane to find my song. While I didn’t really come of age in the 70’s (I’m an 80’s kid … Neon! Huge bangs! Who Shot JR?!), the songs from the 70’s were the soundtrack to my early childhood and set some wild expectations for what I thought adulthood would be like. As it turns out, I have far fewer groovy dance parties and bell bottom jumpsuits than I had thought I would.

I ultimately landed on We Are Family by Sister Sledge as a song that reflects my approach to working with students. I remember my sister and I dancing to this song in our family room with wood-paneled walls and orange shag carpeting. We were very cool. And what a wonderful way to live life… with the assurance that a group of people who love you, have faith in you, and also have your back. Consider these lyrics: “Have faith in you and the things you do; you won’t go wrong, oh no, this is our family jewel.”

In my first few semesters of teaching, I was focused on the content of my courses and how I would organize my lectures and exams. Over time, I learned that the course content was almost beside the point; students can access that content in other places. Building trust through relationship and creating a supportive learning environment was my biggest contribution to the success of my students. I am now convinced that teaching is caring.

How do we extend an Ethics of Care framework into the classroom? I’d love to explore this idea and learn from you in a community of practice at GCC. I’ll bring the fondue!

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