The Blessed Heresy of Admitting it is Our Students (Not ‘Us’) Who Know Best How We Can Teach Them.

Today I realized how different it is to be exhausted from doing the work I’m meant to do and being exhausted from work I’m told, or have been led to believe, is important. The latter fatigue is dangerous to my health, to my well-being, to my sanity. The former is paradoxically life-affirming and healing.

I am so grateful for the wonder of students who find inspiration in learning activities so much that they dedicated their Friday nights for five weeks, countless hours at home and on weekends, and their creative energies to make the role-playing game, “DiGlossia,” for our intercultural communication classes.

And in class today, as we began the two-day playing of the game, I watched these silent Gen-Z students active, engaged, interacting, and having an incredibly good time as they realized they were role-playing scenes right out of the things we’ve covered in class. And the students who had opted “out” of role-playing…? Well, I realized that to be a more realistic game that involved the idea of immigrants and refugees, that the island and its multiple regions where they were traveling towards their dream city needed to have a host population of allies. Every one of them wound up actively engaged, watching the experiences of the others until they could determine the best moments at which to give of their resources to help them make progress on their journeys. Still others, whose characters had been privileged prior to emigrating, found themselves frustrated that many of their skills and powers no longer served them when what they needed most was food, transportation, or a place to sleep.

They will continue the game on Thursday, and two honors students will be working with me to document the process, in a paper they will co-author with me. Another student has asked to be my apprentice in the fall to continue working on the project.

Meanwhile, two students have been hired by the university to work on social media updating of campus life because of their involvement in the Humans of ASU project we completed this semester (and will continue in the fall).

Yet another student from prior semesters in my Intersections of Race and Culture class, will be working with us to create a documentary podcast.

I LOVE MY STUDENTS, and I LOVE MY WORK, and I AM SO HUMBLED by the power of letting the students show me how to teach them.

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