As educators, we have little time to reflect on our practice. I'm convinced that the reason for this is largely political - who knows what we might think, share, or decide to change if we have time to really explore and consider the issues affecting our practice? Means of resistance are becoming more squeezed, as we fight the bureaucracy of 'academic capitalism', where time is money, and less time is our own. It is easy to feel defeated - yesterday's appointment of Toby Young to the board of the new Office for Students (along with a former director of HSBC bank and a managing director of Boots, yet no representative from the National Union of Students), was yet another blow for those resisting the neo-liberalisation of universities in England. I know less about the picture in the US, but can imagine the feelings and frustrations of teachers there too.
Yet we need to continue to seek out affirmative approaches to change, that take us out of places of pain and inspire hope. These might just be temporary 'lines of flight,' but the disruptions to the status quo can produce a ripple effect that lead to lasting change, even if we can't see what these might be right now, or know where they might take us.
The wonderful Benjamin Doxtdator (@doxdatorb) put together a podcast which encourages us to take a pause and reflect on the 'productive interruptions' which might create small ruptures in the systems that limit and constrain us. You can listen to it here: http://www.longviewoneducation.org/give-educators-pause-2018/ On the back of his brilliant idea, I suggested we take the first 30 days of January 2018 to continue pausing and reflecting in response to different questions about social justice in education, grouping them with the hash tag #30DaysReflectResist.
The first question was 'What is your social justice goal (big or small) for 2018?' and the responses so far have been inspiring (I have started to capture these on the 30 Days Google doc). How much or how little you join in is up to you, but if you would like to pause and reflect with us, take a look at the questions coming up here and perhaps add your own too.
As a result of day one I have connected with some new and exciting international thinkers on Twitter and can feel myself emerging from my turn of the year stupor. It's in our interests to stay awake and alert to means of resistance, even when anaesthetizing (in whichever way we choose) feels like an easier way to deal with the pain. As the structures within which we work become more restrictive and stultifying, it may be that the rhizomatic connections we make through projects like this really are the best hope we have for change and transformation.
Looking forward to reading your thoughts and tweets and many thanks for sharing.