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Educators Queering Academia

Critical Memoirs

Series:

Edited By sj Miller and Nelson M. Rodriguez

The memoirs in this collection represent a cross-section of critical reflections by a queerly diverse set of individuals on their experiences inhabiting a variety of spaces within the field of education. In their stories, the authors share how they queered and are continuing to queer the academy in relation to questions of teaching, research, policy, and/or administration. Their memoirs speak across generations of queer educators and scholars; collectively their work highlights an array of theoretical perspectives and methodological approaches. As snapshots in time, the memoirs can be taken up as archive and studied in order to gain perspective on the issues facing queers in the academy across various intersections of identities related to ethnicity, culture, language, (a)gender, (a)sexuality, (dis)ability, socio-economic status, religion, age, veteran status, health status, and more. By way of the memoirs in this volume, a richer body of queer knowledge is offered that can be pulled from and infused into the academic and personal contexts of the work of educators queering academia.
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Chapter Nine: Adopting a Queer Pedagogy as a Teaching Assistant

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CHAPTER NINE

Adopting a Queer Pedagogy as a Teaching Assistant

STEPHANIE ANNE SHELTON

 

“IF YOU’RE TEACHING QUEER STUFF, YOU’RE GETTING OFF TOPIC”

“If you could sign in so that we’re able to verify your attendance, please.” I scribbled my name in the blank, inwardly grumbling about this mandatory teaching assistant (TA) training. I waded through the lecture hall to pick up my training program and find a seat. Those sitting to my left were excitedly talking about teaching in the fall, discussing how nervous that they were to teach “for real.” One popped her gum and volunteered, “I’m kinda scared, but I’m kinda excited too. I mean, I know how to teach. Everybody does, right? I took this same class when I was a freshman, so I know how it works.” I rolled my eyes, resentment returning that I—after years of successful secondary and postsecondary teaching experience—had to sit beside Ms. Bubble Yum and her equally inexperienced friends and to endure whatever the training would entail.

The lights blinked to signal the program’s start and then dimmed for the PowerPoint display. I sat through slide after slide detailing my responsibilities, the university’s policies, and sample syllabi. The speaker then announced that the session would transition to discussing issues of equality, access, and diversity. “Find some people near you and discuss various situations involving diversity that might come up while you’re teaching in...

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