This class pushed me to challenge myself, my ideas. Sometimes I forced myself to read with the text (Kirsch//Perfect Storm), sometimes I questioned my ability to read against the text (Janks). I struggled mightily with the 123 project, because it seemed to want to be everything at once, while being incredibly constrained by 10 minute presentation times and a five page conclusion. I got emotional listening to Dr. Michaelson tell us that sometimes the best you can do is be a compassionate human. I learned more about my ideas about social justice, deepened my understanding of what literacy means, and how it fits into a broader perspective of diversity. There was enough course material in this one class for an entire PhD program, and I could see that sometimes in Dr. Muth's face when he'd writhe in agony, hands on his face, trying to use puny and insufficient language to explain how we could fit something so enormous into a one-semester class, or a ten-minute presentation, or a brief summary final paper.
Sylvia Clute gave me some hope last night that starting small with social justice initiatives is the only possibility. She gave me the hope that maybe there are solutions to poverty, imprisonment, and a punitive-based capitalist society. I guess for the first time I felt like maybe it's possible to fight the good fight, after all.
Finally, as always, I made new friendships with classmates, and learned so much from listening to all of us work things out in group discussion. Social constructivist learning has impacted me greatly, especially once I knew what to call it. Learning with one another, seeing things from a different perspective, hearing things through the lens of a surgeon or an ESL teacher or a civil engineer... I will always remember those moments when we're all so caught up in the subject that we're stumbling over one another, fighting to get our ideas out, struggling to fit what we thought we knew into a larger schema that keeps growing and changing and evolving. That's what I'll take away with me from this class.