In November of 1975, the great writer, Black feminist theorist, and critical pedagogy advocate Audre Lorde had a nightmare that many instructors will recognize: “Dream — a classroom — am I the teacher or a student? I have not attended enough –either lost or late. Exam approaching — how can it be a class — how can I study or teach — I haven’t attended enough. Doom must come but will it?” If even a legendary figure like Audre Lorde had anxiety dreams about entering a classroom, it’s safe to say anyone can feel unprepared.
This is not surprising, really. Most of us are unprepared to teach. We were never taught how. We’re mostly winging it. Even worse, most of us know, deep down, that many of the teaching practices we have inherited contribute to inequality. We see the disparate success rates of our students, year in and year out, and we don’t know how to change. It is no wonder that so many of us — even the great Audre Lorde — have recurring anxiety nightmares around teaching.
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