Learning to Be Brave: Back to School Edition (reblog)

Here’s another worthy blog to follow that I discovered today. I’m still working on my own back-to-school piece, doing my best to take part in the kind of creative transformation that Rachel Ida Buff talks about in her post. She’s got the right idea: participation in “new blogs and organizations, protests and alliances and relationships” that are “a form of public education, keeping the faith in a time of war.”

This post came to me via Facebook share.  I didn’t bookmark it, and in using Google later to track down Dr. Buff’s post, I discovered coverage of her other activism: this link to her testimony at the Joint Finance Committee, an opinion piece in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, and more.  An associate professor of history at UW-Milwaukee, she’s doing the kind of speaking out that I think we all — but especially my UW system colleagues — can admire and aspire to.


The author, practicing.

The author, practicing.

I did not become a college professor because I am particularly brave. I started a Masters’ program in American Studies at the University of Minnesota twenty-five years ago, thinking that it would enable me to teach community college, to piece together what the writer Jackie Regales calls “A Patchwork Life” of writing and teaching. I stayed on for my PhD because I fell in love with the work of university teaching.

You could describe me as opinionated. And I am quick on my feet, a quality that has proven quite useful in the classroom. But learning to be brave came later.

It is strange to have to point this out, but bookishness is the defining quality of most of the people who wind up working in classrooms and libraries. We like to read, which means we spend a lot of time doing that: quietly, by…

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