Copyright © Louis Schmier and Atwood Publishing.

Date: Thu, 1 Feb 1996 21:24:56 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Random Thought: Academia's Disease

As a result of being embroiled in a heated discussion on some lists that unexpectedly erupted around my last Random Thought, it occured to me that there has been a plague raging somewhat unchecked throughout my and other campuses of higher education--and throughout other levels of education as well--to which regrettably all too few professors and teachers are immune and to which I had once succumb until I was started on the road to recovery by a never-ending painful treatment of honest self-reflection and self-actualization. And, I am not talking about this season's flu bug. It is a disease whose symptoms are: a "dis-ease" with accepting the truth that with all our degrees and resumes put on our pants and panty-hose one legs at a time just like everyone else; a "dis-ease" of accepting the truth that we are subjective whole human beings with complex lives and experiences; a "dis-ease" of facing the fact that we who profess from the dazzling heights of Mount Podium are no more or less empirical, analytical, and objective than anyone other human being; a "dis-ease" with realizing that nothing we do is value neutral; a "dis-ease" to realize and acknowledge that there is an intimate and inseparable connection between our life practices, value systems, habits of being, sets of beliefs, outlooks on life, ways of looking at things and people, visions of ourselves, perceptions of students, and our performance as academics; a "dis-ease" of realizing that no one can separate the person from the professional; a "dis-ease" with acknowledging our personal experiences and the revelvancy of these experineces to our teaching, that we have memories, families, religions, feelings, and culture; a "dis-ease" that we it is a "dis-ease" with understanding that we bring all this onto the campus, into meetings, discussions and the classroom rather than being focused objective seekers of compartmentalized bits of information; and finally, a "dis-ease" with talking about ourselves, our identity, and our self-actualization rather than about our subject or the students.

The truth is that we must practice being the teacher first to ourselves before we can be teachers to others, for we have to have our own well-being and achieve our own empowerment if we are to teach in a manner that helps and empowers students.

Have a good one.


Louis Schmier  (912-333-5947)
Department of History                      /~\    /\ /\
Valdosta State University          /^\    /   \  /  /~ \     /~\__/\
Valdosta, Georgia 31698           /   \__/     \/  /     /\ /~      \
                            /\/\-/ /^\___\______\_______/__/_______/^\
                          -_~     /  "If you want to climb mountains, \ /^\
                             _ _ /      don't practice on mole hills" -\____

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