DPL 2020 #STEMDigPed Day 6 (Self-Care)

Ghost Post Day 6 (https://stem.dpl.online/day-6-2/)

“Life is meant to be a never-ending education, and when this is fully appreciated, we are no longer survivors but adventurers.”  (David McNally, Even Eagles Need a Push)

At last we have reached the end of our track. Today is the day we focus on self-care because in order to do this work, we must have the ability to often function at a high level, and that high level takes a lot of energy and time. Even when we don’t want to take care of ourselves, we need to take care of ourselves.

Our last vidcast is with Sherri Spelic, who is one of the best folks to talk to us about self-care. Her book Care at the core: Conversational essays on identity, education and power (2019) is completely worth the read. Below are some quotes from her book (along with my exposition) that I think sum up this week beautifully.

“I cannot go unnoticed.
I cannot float under the radar.
I cannot not be seen.
Being able to choose visibility
and which damn to give
are privileges of the few.”

(What Happened When I Went to School with My Hair Out, p. 58)

Invisibility is a privilege, particularly held by those of us who are white. Our students from oppressed groups need for us, their instructors, to humanize them – to lift them off the page of the spreadsheet into 4-dimensional beings – so that they can have the same privilege we already have. All of our students should be visible to us, but their level of visibility should be their own choice.

“In other words, my writing – tweeting, blogging, curating, publishing – are forms of call and response, call and response. I do believe that you can write your way out of ignorance.” (p. 70)
Where does ignorance end? I think it ends where we genuinely listen to our students, peers, etc. from oppressed groups and perhaps hear them for the first time. It ends where we do the work to educate ourselves on our own biases and work to eliminate them or own them fully. Ignorance ends where we bring our activism to the classroom and truly make teaching the radical act it was always meant to be.

“If we want audience, then we must first and foremost be audience. We need to read widely and astutely. We need to pause as we read the work of others – and become permeable. Being an audience means letting others into our worlds, leaving space for the sparring and dancing of ideas.” (p. 66)
Permeability and transparency are foundations of critical pedagogy. We must be willing to move with our students and help them where they are, not where we’d like them to be. Can we accomplish this in one day? Of course not. But can we decide on a few things we’d like to change for next semester that *hopefully* result in a more compassionate and understanding foundation in the classroom? Yes, yes we can.

“I am liberty to make use of my own superpowers. I am a learner of outrageous potential. There is no reason to believe that I cannot do what no one expects.” (p. 78)
The tools we use to implement critical pedagogy and open pedagogy are ones that we can employ now or later in our classroom. But our power exists in our powerful to believe in ourselves, our community, and our willingness to be transparent about our pedagogical process – not only with our students but also our peers and, most of all, ourselves.

We are learners of outrageous potential. We have no reason to expect that we cannot change the trajectory of STEM-H instruction using what we’ve learned this week and what we will learn as we continue on this journey together.

On that note, as we are winding up our time, and it has been an absolutely delightful week. THANK YOU for registering, participating, and being a part of this week. It has truly been my pleasure to interact with you all as you could interact in the course. Your contributions have been brilliant and I highly encourage you to share them elsewhere as well so that others can benefit from your contributions as well.

Our synchronous session yesterday was a really great discussion about labs, and the link to the recording is here. Implementing critical pedagogy in lab courses is not easy, but it isn’t impossible either, and many excellent suggestions were shared on how to make this happen more effectively. Thanks to all who participated in this, and the other synchronous sessions this week.

The plan for the day is here: https://stem.dpl.online/day-6/.  


Ghost Page Day 6 (https://stem.dpl.online/day-6)

Saturday, August 1, 2020 (Day 6)

Theme: Show and Tell (Application in the classroom) and Self Care

Questions to Ponder

  • What struck you from today’s vidcast or readings? Any Aha’s?
  • How do we take care of ourselves as we manage this work?
  • What three major things are we going to take away from this experience?
  • From our learnings this week, what can we apply right now?
  • Where do we go from here? How do we continue to support one another?


Readings, Videos, Podcasts, etc.

DPL Vidcast Episode 6 with Sherri Spelic

Gonzalez, J. (2017 June 19). Why it’s so hard for teachers to take care of themselves (and some ways to start) [Blog Post]. Cult of Pedagogy.

Outgoing Hypothes.is article: Tanner, K. D. (2013). Structure matters: Twenty-one teaching strategies to promote student engagement and cultivate classroom equity. CBE Life Sciences Education, 12(3), 322-331.

Spelic, S. (2019). Care at the core: Conversational essays on identity, education and power. Selected Readings are found in the Blog Post on Ghost

Extension Book

Spelic, S. (2019). Care at the core: Conversational essays on identity, education and power. tredition.


Discourse Day 6 – Our last day check-in

Hi everyone!
At last we are at the end of our DPL week and our discussions. While I’m hoping the conversation will continue (via Slack and the invitation is in the Day 6 Post on Ghost) along with the community we’ve formed, I completely acknowledge that this is the end for some of you.

So THANK YOU for being a part of this track and for your contributions and willingness to dig into the material. It has been a brilliant week.

As we wrap up the work of our week, let’s check in. What small or large epiphanies (A-ha’s) have you had since yesterday? Was there anything in yesterday’s material, synchronous session or closing panel thoughts that made you want to know more? Anything you’d like to share?

And as our last community building exercise, what do you think you’ll remember most from this experience? What part of DPL did you enjoy most? Where are the growth edges for the future?



Go back to Day 0, Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, or Day 5.

4 thoughts on “DPL 2020 #STEMDigPed Day 6 (Self-Care)

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