What do we mean when we use the phrase, “in the real world”? As many of us are in a state of transition between school and work, styles of work, or a balance of both, are we living a less real life if we don’t work for a corporation? Indeed, the different ways humans interface with the world is hybrid. The column below is an inquiry into the meanings of culturally problematic phrases like “the real world,” and “proper use of time,” and the ways these interplay. It will ask questions concerning digital humanities, critical pedagogy, and agency. It is an exploration, a discussion, and a journey. Join us.
In January, I sought the aid of other voices in answering the question, “How does your training (vocational, traditional, etc.) inform the way you spend and/or value your time?” When I asked, I knew that I would receive wonderful, rounded responses, but I continue to get unexpected insights that have me thinking differently every time I read through them.
Caroline Stauss, a new K-12 instructor who decided to wait until later in life to begin her career as a teacher, reveals some discontent she feels in her community. In responding to the question above, Caroline goes deep about the outcome of the more difficult experiences of this phase of her journey. She leads us through a narrative situated within scenarios many of us may find familiar, and which may sound rather foreign to others. Like me, Caroline understands the institutionalization of education that I mention in my introduction to these responses, but reacts to it in a much different way than I do. And here is where I find the meat of what I am attempting to do with my questioning: if we think about unions and what the types of communities unions can build up, as well as the ones it can break down, we are thinking as learners all along the way. Take a look what community does for Caroline: