Teaching Support Group by Kendra Barber

Hi everyone! I’m starting a teaching support group and I want to open it up to anyone who is interested. It’s not restricted to sociology students, so if you know other people who may be interested they are free to join.

When I say a teaching support group I know the image of a twelve-step program probably pops into your head. “Hi my name is Kendra and my students are driving me nuts…[group says] Hi Kendraaaa.” Haha! Not quite. Basically what I have in mind is just a space where people who consider their teaching as a form of activism can talk to each other, support each other, and swap advice and resources. It’s particularly for those of us in Sociology, American Studies, Women’s Studies, etc. who teach (or will teach) contentious topics regarding racism, sexism, classism, heterosexism, abelism, religious oppression, etc. and want to talk about how to deal with all that goes along with teaching that territory. I think not only will it help keep us sane and improve our teaching, but it will keep our morale up when we feel like we’re not making a difference, and hopefully help us find colleagues who have strengths and privileges some of us may not who could talk to our classes. I also see this as a resource for us to discuss what to do when students are working full time and attending school full time, or outstanding students that we want to mentor and provide resources for. I think that we often have these types of conversations one on one and it might be more productive to vent or get resources from a number of people. This teaching support group is not intended to take the place of Linda Moghadam’s Teaching Assistants Seminar.

I don’t want this to be a serious time commitment because we all have plenty to do, so I think a monthly meeting will be a good start. With that said our first meeting will be Thursday December 2nd at 4pm in C. Wright Mills. If you can come by please do. If you can’t but are interested, please email me at kbarber@socy.umd.edu.

Kendra is a 4th year graduate student.


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