Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Still Wearing Clothes

top from Old Navy. Black pencil skirt (not pictured)
from old Navy.

I'm still here, still wearing clothes and teaching. I've been struggling. It's almost midterm, and I've managed to wear a new outfit every day and avoid jeans, which is usually my fallback when I don't feel well, and which I'm not actually allowed to wear as a professor. Boo. The weather is still frustratingly warm, and I've battled migraines and chronic pain, and students who don't even attempt to care and technology that doesn't work and foils my teaching plans. I've struggled with the Gaze of the Student on my non-conforming body, my fatness, my queerness, my disability writ large (pun intended) across me as I stand at the front of the room, as I turn my back and write on the board and whisper about me. I know I'm a good teacher, but it's difficult to survive this piercing gaze. Young people today have a cruel way of treating Others who don't fit their acceptable standards, and it's tough to withstand that sometimes. Yes, sure, I'm grading them, and therefore I have more power in the dynamic, but it sure doesn't feel that way, especially when they tell me outright that they don't care what grade they get in the class, when they don't try to even be polite and be quiet while I'm trying to teach. So many days I feel weary and sick and fighting back or working with them just feels impossible. My body is on display every day, and it takes a toll on me. I long for cooler weather, when I can arm myself with cardigans and coats and tights and leggings and boots and feel protected against the shame it seems they try to make me feel. It is not easy to be a body like mine at the front of the classroom, and I don't even have race as an issue to contend with, so I know my POC colleagues feel this to an even greater extent. 

So I still haven't gotten my camera fixed. These are not the best outfit photos. But this is what I've been wearing.

from eShakti, a dress with a butterfly skirt. The only
outfit I've reworn this semester.

Cardigan from Old Navy, Maxi dress from Lane Bryant.

my favorite giraffe dress, from eShakti. Only trouble is,
it's very short, so leggings are a must. This is the first and only
dress that got me compliments from multiple students.

I feel angry about how little money I make for how hard I work, and for how difficult this is for me. The teaching is not difficult, the lesson planning and grading itself, but being a sick, disabled, fat, queer body in front of other bodies is rough. Right now I'm on day two of a migraine, and the only way I'm going to survive today is that my students have a peer workshop in class. I have no idea what I'm going to wear today.


hleighh said...

I don't know if you're on Facebook, but there's a group of college faculty called "Angry and Not Angry Teaching Resources" that frequently discusses adjunct issues AND bodies-in-the-classroom issues... the past week or so people have been posting reactions to a recent essay by a young female teacher encountering sexism and disrespect from students. I hope you have/find support for your teaching vocation through this discouraging time.

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