I’m a college professor, in case you didn’t know.
Today marks the start of another fall semester for me. My “Chicano/Latino Histories” class meets this morning and, due to a campus event, my first-year seminar “American Inequality” will meet on Thursday for the first time.
I’ve been on sabbatical for the past year, so this is my first time in a classroom in 15 months. I’m looking forward to it, in particular to see where I’ve grown rusty. I’m also a little bit nervous, as is typical for me, the product of the mix of excitement, the unknown, and the need to get amped up before a public performance.
Teaching is one of the most enjoyable and most rewarding things I do. I consider it a luxury to be able to earn a living for me and my family by learning and finding ways to help others learn. It’s also a thrill to be able to engage young people who are at a critical time in their lives, often enjoying their own luxury of making decisions about what to retain from their upbringing as they chart out a purposeful future as an “independent adult.”
As I get ready to step into the Chicano Studies classroom, I am also cognizant of the special place these classes have in the academy. As my students will learn in a few minutes, Chicano Studies is the product of social movements which sought to change the academy, making it more responsive to the surrounding world and accountable to the knowledge it produces.
At no point in its history in higher education has Chicano Studies NOT been threatened. In economic times like these, when colleges are shrinking classes and enrollments–and when working-class and poor students (who are disproportionately black and brown in this region) will find it harder to get into college, afford to stay in college, and find the support to succeed in college–I am acutely aware of the importance of classes like the one it is my honor to teach.
All this is to say, I don’t know where LatinoLikeMe is going to go in these months ahead. I’ve used my sabbatical to make some deep in roads in my scholarly work and those need to continue. That means something has to give, and that just might be this blog. Maybe I’ll compensate by writing more of this kind of thing, of making it into something of a personal/professional journal instead of the “information” format I envisioned and tried to maintain. We’ll see.
Now, I gotta go blow some minds.