Is this a test?

I’m sitting in the Department of Transport car park waiting for my partner to start his driving test to get a manual license. I’m pretty sure I’m more anxious than he is. He’s pulled out of the driveway now, so I can relax and get this blog underway.

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The first semester of the year is winding down, well it’s supposed be, but there is very rarely any real reduction in work load, simply a shift in gears. Teaching a course that was new to me has meant I’ve been driving along an inner-city bypass: generally a pretty hectic, fast paced trip, several traffic jams or quick lane changes to avoid them, a minor prang here and there, and a bunch of red lights that force me to stop everything for a minute or two.

Reflecting on that course, written by someone else and jam packed with practical strategies for teachers to do the work of aligning teaching, learning and assessment with the curriculum, makes me think about my responsibilities as a critical race scholar and teacher. I wonder how other teachers and lecturers respond in similar positions, when they’re teaching into courses that don’t have a critical focus, don’t engage with race, racism, power, justice and oppression. Do they, can they, teach in ways true to their principles? Do they feel it is enough to ‘fit’ what they can into a course that only addresses the basic elements of the focus topic?

This must be an issue for all educators who are committed to something that is not considered core knowledge in schools or universities. I’m keen to find out how (and whether) you do your work while retaining a commitment to the marginal parts.

He’s back from the test and he passed. Time to take off those L plates and head to work.