Monday, February 22, 2010

Sarah's Reflection: Week 5

In the interest of valuable class time, Jessica and I have decided to post our individual reflections on last week’s readings on the class blog. We will each be answering the following question, which we feel links together many of the themes from our readings: How has the power that the erotic has to move ideas from potentiality to actuality manifested in our teaching/learning/ being carers/experiences/actions? We encourage the rest of the class to join us in answering and reflecting upon this question.


In growing up as a student taught and trained by the banking system of education, I learned certain undesirable habits and strategies for not only surviving that atmosphere, but succeeding within it. And in spite of being a perfectionist and overall hard worker, time and time again I saw that most kinds of knowledge could be faked in the long run: I could cram figures and definitions into my head, then let them seep back out until I retained little to nothing of what I had "learned," thus making most knowledge temporary and inconsequential.

Eroticism within education denies any such opportunity for cheating one's self of a fully integrated, personalized, and memorable knowledge-building experience. As Lorde explains, erotic power intends to grab ahold of you, pushing you forward toward goals both predicted and unforeseen. Embracing the erotic also means embracing our own ability to actualize our ideas and our own capacities for knowing. In summary, eroticism is what drives an active role in the educational process.

This is where eroticism has most impacted all areas of my life. Just as I can no longer allow myself to be a passive student in the classroom, only regurgitating facts as they are told to me, I could never allow myself to be a passive teacher relying only on textbooks and Powerpoints. The erotic element of teaching is what will push me to live and act upon my feminisms, and recreate classroom atmospheres to be what they need to be in order to align with our goals of social and political justice. This is where the power of the erotic has manifested itself most concretely in my life: in learning to access it and apply it in an intellectual sense (as we have done in this week's readings), I've made myself excited again to be a teacher and a student, because I can now see the classroom as a malleable place with revolutionary opportunities.

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