“The future isn’t something hidden in a corner. The future is something we build in the present.” – Paulo Freire
Really…? Well sometimes I think the academy could learn a thing or two from this statement. While we weren’t able to fully get into the topic of critical pedagogy, I really enjoyed taking a look at the resources on Scholar, reading them, and going over the PPT Shelli put together. A very different and inspiring way to think about things for me. A different way to think about the dynamics between ‘teacher’ and ‘student.’ A different way to fulfill the mission of the university. And a different way to be a good faculty member, mentor, colleague, and friend.
Since doing the readings and looking at the resources, this quote is something that has stayed with me. It is something that I have grown to feel strongly about. I feel like it sums up the need for, and possible ways in which the academy could change. I’m not into corny clichés but I feel like I could use this quote in a job interview and tell people, “This is how I want to work with you, the students, and our colleagues across the university.” I want to build the future in the present.
I’m not talking about the future like some far off distant abstract concept that someday will come to fruition. Someday my schedule will be clear enough for us to have the relationship that I think, and tell myself, we have. Someday I will be free of the influences that I can’t even recognize, or at least won’t admit to others, that exist outside of my fragile little head.
I want to be a teacher who sees the opportunity of developing relationships with students and provides for the opportunity to do just that. Building the future in the present, together, as a community of learners, in an authentic and real way. Without walls, power trips, political games and pastoring that no one likes.
Just saying you value justice, student’s opinions, the work and long hour’s student put in isn’t enough for me. It isn’t enough to be happy only after you have had your ego stroked for a few hours. What I want to see is the sacrifice of not always doing what is politically expedient but doing what is right.
Thinking hard about this quote grounds me into thinking the right way about teaching, about being faculty, and keeps the reasons I came to graduate school at the forefront of my mind. For me, being faculty at a university is tremendous privilege to harness the opportunity it gives you. And to truly build the future in the present. Nowhere else could I see this opportunity more true and available.