Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Who Would Read Them?

Today I burned the syllabi for the last graduate courses I taught. It was hard to see them go. I will not be teaching counseling or education courses again, even if I am asked. The time it would take from my present undertakings would be difficult. It means I will never sit in a seminar room again with a group of students I am intent on awakening to the subject at hand. The fun of seeing them involved in their own learning, their own core beliefs, their own reasons for wanting to be teachers or counselors. I wanted to teach until the day I knew I should not, but it doesn't work that way. Other factors got in the way of continuing to keep alive the part of my career that I loved most.

Syllabi were my opportunity to exercise a bit of creativity within the academic mold. Some of them were for courses I developed. It is interesting to contrast what was happening in 1971 with my new doctoral degree in hand, and an opportunity to broaden the thinking of Western New Mexico University students. I put on my ERA bracelet and wrote a rationale for a new course, Psychology of Women. It was  met with the expected firestorm of university committee thought. Why a course for women if an equal one did not exist for men? I explained that all psychology of the time was psychology of men. And so the course was finally approved, and I was overrun with interested students. The first course, upper division and graduate level had sixty students sign up for it. Even divided in half, it would have been too large for the discussion groups which were at its heart. Students were organized into smaller groups of ten, and so began the discussion of how it is that men who are capable of great love for women are not capable of an equal amount of respect.

Today, more than forty years later, I hear Rick Santorum, candidate for president, speak about why women should be in the home, chained by that devil birth control.He just won in two Southern states! In my blog tomorrow, I will go on to pursue another course I developed, Psychology of the Chicano, and a discussion of minority status including that of women. Maybe I do need to save those syllabi from the fire!

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