I'm well aware that most of you are still just shy of the birthday that will make you legally adults (and just fyi, there is far more to actually being a grown up than being of age to cast a ballot), and that all but a couple of you are, in fact, new here.
So, as a gesture of goodwill, I'm going to take a moment to clear up some of what I can already tell are widely held misconceptions about what our respective classroom roles are.
Let me begin by saying IT IS NOT MY FUCKING JOB TO ENTERTAIN YOU.
I am not Gypsy Rose Lee (a reference none of you will get, or even Google, and more's the pity). I am not a trained circus animal (actually, I'm the ringmaster, which the brightest of you will have already figured out by now). I do not juggle. Nor do I beep, or whistle, or spin, or flash on and off for your viewing pleasure. I don't come with a laugh track. (If you want to know when it's appropriate to laugh, then you're going to have to pay attention.)
It is however, my fucking job to educate you. This means I am responsible for putting together and presenting information in a way that's coherent and accessible. I am responsible for providing relevant (and timely) examples to illustrate how the information I'm presenting relates to the here and now. I am responsible for sharing my passion about critical discourses of hamster fur weaving with you, for attempting to engage with you thoughtfully and thoroughly (and I say attempting because engagement is ultimately a two way street).
I am not here to reaffirm what you think you already know.
I am here to push you, to challenge you, to expand your horizons, to ask you to question, especially the things that are "common sense" or "just are", to acknowledge the existence of other possibilities and ways of thinking and knowing, and think critically about what you read and hear. I know this will be difficult. I know it's a practice and a process, because it's still one for me. All I ask is that you show up prepared to reach and grow and TRY...and try again.
If you're not willing to do that, then I'm pretty sure you're in the wrong place.
I am not here to tell you what the readings say.
That's why you read them (and yes, "required" means "required").
I am, however, here to help you explore what they mean. I am here to facilitate discussion, to encourage you to share with each other, to gently guide you to uncovering the key arguments and making connections, because it's a more powerful form of understanding to figure something out than to flat-out be told.
If you haven't done the readings, you will be shit out of luck. Also, a total waste of space and oxygen.
I am not here to tell you to listen when other people are talking, to share, to be kind, to wait your turn...
...because if this is motherfucking kindergarten, then I demand a snack and a nap.
Finally, I am not here to coddle your fucking privilege.
Seriously. That shit is just not going to happen. Not now, not ever, and no matter how many times you call me names.
I'm so glad we got all of this out of the way, and I look forward to our time together.