Link to What's New This Week. Issue for Week of September 1, 2003

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Dear Habermas
A Journal of Postmodern and Critical Thought
Devoted to Academic Discourse on Peace and Justice

Current Issue:
Volume 18, No. 2, Week of September 1, 2003

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Previous Issue: Volume 18, No.1, Week of August 25, 2003
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Latest Update: August 29, 2003

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jeanne's What I Learned in School Today.

What I Learned in School Today . . . jeanne

Topic of the Week:
Community: WE CAN DO IT!

What I Learned in School Today
I learned that I like school . . . Let me count the why's . . .
By the Social Agencies: Practice and Power Class, Thursday, August 28, 2003.

I learned that I like school
Because Michael shared his boat, and I could imagine sailing away
(That's Michael and his boat in the upper right corner of my painting.)
Because Sheryell shared a big old poster-size photograph of her son
And cautiously told us how she loved him
And how proud she was of his grabbing challenge and winning
And we cautiously responded that that made us feel good.
(That's Sheryell and her son on the left hand side)

I learned that I like school
Because Zerrona searched and searched
From mirror site to mirror site
And couldn't find the Syllabus
So she EEK!ed
Which is exactly what she should have done.
She couldn't find it,
Because jeanne hadn't got it up yet.
(That's Zerrona over in the right lower corner.)

I learned that I like school
Because Denice rushed to share her own problems
Almost the opposite to Sheryell's
Denice is the one who's facing challenge
And her husband and children reach out to her
To see her all the way through school.
(That's Denice over on the right in shocking pink, holding a graduation photo of one of her kids.)

I learned that I like school
Because Lesley wasn't going to let go of her questions
Until she got the answers she needed.
And we all felt better when we had a better sense of who we were and what this class was about.
(That's half of Lesley's head down in the lower left-hand corner.)

I learned that I like school
Because Rosemary understood the pain of a child that's ill
And shared with us her family's concern
Over her twelve-year old grandson.
I didn't like at all that Ritalin may have caused some part of his illness
Because I think that medicine and education and work should do no harm.
And I did like that now we know that all these issues hold real meaning for us this semester.
(That's Rosemary holding onto her little grandson in the center.)

I learned that I like school
Because we ARE the school and we ARE the community
And listening to one another scares me just like it scares you
But when we hear each other
We begin to see what humans have in common: us, the community.

But I learned that I like school most of all
Because so many of you came up to ask
If you'll have a chance to share next week.
You bet you will.
Because

Show and tell is a very important part of helping higher education do no harm.

love and peace, jeanne
Acting as class secretary.

These are the feelings and thoughts I took with me yesterday when I left school. That doesn't mean the traffic was any better. It doesn't mean I'm any less horrified at how many lectures I have yet to get up. It doesn't mean that everybody in these classes, including me, is going to be raring to jump into the class theory every day. It means that I understand after three days with you that we can build communities in which we like each other, in which we help each other, and in which even those who'd rather be at the beach discover they can do statistics or whatever. We do have agency and decision-making power over our own lived experiences, at least some power. Or as Susan Fellows always quotes a traffic school instructor: "Misery is optional."

For further contributions and theory on this issue of learning identity and the community, see Lived Experiences.

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