In my recent article, “We Are Teachers,” I wrote that “Whether in a classroom, on the playground, in the kitchen, in the car, or just at work, we are all teachers...” Paulo Freire writes about what he calls “teacher-student with students-teachers,” suggesting that the roles of “student” and “teacher” are ones we move in and out of and that our work together in education depends on our recognizing the ways that teachers have been and still are students—the ways that students are also teachers.
At Hybrid Pedagogy, we have published over 200 authors and over 500 articles since 2011. Our authors are professors, kindergarten teachers, librarians, scientists, and on and on and on. All of our readers have been deeply impacted by educators’ experiences and have listened to their ideas with open arms and open hearts in the hopes that it will improve and broaden our pedagogies in significant ways, and in hopes that we can take these lessons and apply them to our own personal pedagogies.
The relationships between students and teachers is vital to the work of education. We are all students now, or have been students, or will be students again. Our willingness to be students impacts how we learn and how we teach.
It is all too rare that we center (or even hear) the voices of students talking of their experiences; in classrooms, on campus, online, in Zoom, these stories are barely a whisper. As Jesse Stommel observed in “The Human Work of Higher Education Pedagogy”: “We need to stop having conversations about the future of education without students in the room.” That call for including student voices is the charge beneath this call for papers. It is well past time for us to talk across the divide between students and teachers, including student passions, aspirations, and how those can improve all of our pedagogies.
I am more of a student than a teacher, even though I work with educators all day in my nine-to-five job as well as in my work at Hybrid Pedagogy. Many view me as an ex-grammar teacher, a mother, a trainer. But on my lunch breaks, I’m reviewing class material. During the quiet hours when my daughter is asleep, I am studying for quizzes and tests. While I’m waiting on PowerPoints to print, I review flashcards. In bed at night, I review my schedule and make sure I have not missed any assignments. I am a student and a teacher, too.
Being a teacher is not easy. Being a student is not easy.
Leaving home and starting college as a freshman is scary and exciting. Staying at home and starting college can be just as hard. Making the incredible decision to go back to school as someone in their thirties, fifties, seventies is most certainly challenging, even in the best of ways. The material circumstances of students is increasingly difficult; debt, food insecurity, housing insecurity, disability, working while in school, and seemingly simple social pressures, like making friends or deciding what you want to be when you “grow up.” Do you buy the books for class or pay rent? And then the pandemic—and students and teachers alike have to adjust to learning fully online literally overnight. As Sean Michael Morris wrote in “Pivot to Online: A Student Guide”: “For students, the disorientation will be profound. Where before they (may have) had skilled, imaginative, creative, even buoyant teachers leading their classes, now they will have a wisp of that person, a shade, a particulate version of that teacher guiding them through their learning.” Simply put, students endure a lot.
And so, Hybrid Pedagogy calls upon students in this call for papers. All students—no matter the age, where you live, how long you’ve been in school, whether you love school or hate school — your voice is necessary. We want to hear your stories, your challenges, your struggles, your successes, and your joy.
We invite submissions particularly from undergraduate students, but also graduate students, K12 students, and educators reflecting on their experience as students. We are not looking for traditional academic essays. This is not homework. We want to hear your voice reflecting on your experience of education, and what you want education to be. Submissions can take the form of:
- Creative nonfiction or memoir
- Multimedia narratives
- Journal entries
As you write and submit your pieces, consider the following questions:
- What does it mean to be a student in a post-pandemic, remote, and in-person world?
- How do you manage courses alongside work, being a parent or caregiver, your family, and everything else?
- What limitations and obstacles have you personally had to overcome as a student? How has your disability, mental health, acute or chronic illness, class, race, gender, sexuality, etc. affected your work as a student? How have you been othered by the institutions where you’ve studied?
- How do you, as a student, have conversations with your teachers and educators about pedagogy? Where is (if there is) the common ground?
- How do students and teachers approach learning from different perspectives?
- How do students become teachers, and teachers become students? How can we be both?
- How does power work in classrooms? How does this change in online classrooms?
- What do you want your teachers to really know? What have you never been able to tell them?
We want to hear from you, whether you are in your last semester of a post-doctoral degree or if you just graduated high school and are on your way to a new college. All students have a voice here. You could be seventeen, living at home and taking classes on your computer in your bedroom; you could be a single mother taking night classes after a long day at work, your toddler snuggled up to you as you finish your homework; you could be the first person in your family to go to college; you could be judged for moving away to attend your dream school in a city far away from home; you could have started school only to take a break and come back; you could be on track to graduate early in hopes of pursuing another degree; you could have your entire academic plan mapped out and posted on your dorm room wall; or maybe you’re still deciding what direction you want for your education.
If you know a student whose voice needs to be heard, send this call their way. And if you’re an educator and have a story about being a student that you haven’t yet told, this call may also be for you.
This is a rolling call. Articles should be 1,000 to 2,500 words and work in some way toward the purpose of this call. To submit your work, go to Hybrid Pedagogy’s submissions page.