Becoming the teacher that I hate
I applied to graduate school so that I could help change academia. Unfortunately, in order to change academia you have to be trained to be an academic. This means that you have to be trained to do the things that you think are harmful . You have to be trained to do the very things that you wish academia would refrain from doing.
For the month of March, I want my blogs to focus on ways in which I am trained to be the type of academic that I hate. My first blog on this will cover how I am trained to have shitty communication skills. If you were wondering about why professors can be such horrible communicators this may provide you some insight.
I used to hate teachers who couldn't understand what I was saying until I used the right terminology, because wtf, you know what I mean! Unfortunately, I have become what I hated. I realize that the issue is that philosophy has a lot of different ways of defining things. They use words that people use in every day language and they define it differently. Students ask us to interact with their idea of the texts but it is very difficult to understand their idea when they use terminology that doesn't make sense in a specific context (according to the tradition of philosophy we are talking about).
It is very similar to code switching or maybe even speaking in different languages. In one conversation, my students will use words that have specific philosophical definitions in the right way (they won't always explain the phenomenon accurately and precisely but they are close a lot of the time) and they will use a non-philosophical definitions. It is very confusing because I am constantly thinking, "oh, they probably mean x" and then at the same time I am thinking, "oh, OK they are referring to this phenomenon but just in a different way" and I am also thinking (because I am trained as a philosopher to think this way) "the philosopher that they are referring to would not talk about things in this way."
There will just be so much going on- so much to fix and understand that I am mostly always inclined to just explain what they said in the way that the philosopher would say it and then have them explain it in a way that is "Correct". Unfortunately, I am just not at the level where I can multitask and interact with their ideas head on when their ideas aren't packaged in a way that is "correct."
I could be wrong but I think that the problem is that I have become so distanced from talking about things in the way that regular every day people talk about things. I think the culture around intellectualism, the way in which I am pressured to grasp the material, along with the way that I am expected to understand the material that I learn contribute to this. In some sense, it would make sense as to why this would happen. Philosophy has a certain method, terminology, and theories. In order to do philosophy, you have to understand those things. However, philosophy is about getting at the truth. More specifically, it is about understanding the world. It doesn't make sense that I have become so distanced from the way that regular everyday people talk about things like freedom and happiness because we are both talking about the same thing. We are all trying to understand the concepts. Crazy thing is that I have been trained to act in a way where I'm not talking about the same thing that regular every day people talk about when the discuss issues. I have been trained in a way that makes it difficult for me to understand regular every day people talk about about freedom and happiness without using specific terms or explaining things in a certain way. But also, there is a sense that the way that they are talking about things is inferior to the way a professional philosopher would talk about things. It is like I can't think outside of the framework I have been given. It's like I believe that if the concepts can't be explained in a particular framework, then the idea is wrong.
I wish I had the answers on how to fix this. If you got some answers, feel free to comment!