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ERIC Number: EJ879558
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 8
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 3
ISBN: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0882-4843
"The Cracks Are Where the Light Shines in": Grief in the Classroom
Granek, Leeat
Feminist Teacher: A Journal of the Practices, Theories, and Scholarship of Feminist Teaching, v20 n1 p42-49 2009
The death of the author's mother was not a surprise. Despite eighteen years of relative psychological and physical health while she lived with metastatic breast cancer, the last year of her life was a violent struggle against the disease that aggressively invaded her body. Her mother fought her death until the last moment. Within five days of being admitted, her mother died. The process of teaching her course while grieving her mother taught the author many things about loss. In this article, the author describes the impact of her mother's death on her life and how staying open saved her. A saying in Judaism proclaims that "there is nothing so whole as a broken heart." The author understands this to mean what Leonard Cohen implied when he wrote that "the cracks are where the light shines through." The struggle to be a good teacher while she was grieving was about more than her ability to adequately transmit the information, it was about letting the students see the "cracks" so the light could shine in but also shine out. Although she cannot claim that the students in that history of psychology course learned a great deal about the origins of the discipline, or at least, learned it from her with enthusiasm, she believes that they all experienced something much more profound together. Staying open in the classroom gave the students someone raw, but honest. And staying open gave the author the opportunity to receive from them, as they were receiving from her. In addition to the knowledge, inquiry, and discussion that flowed between them, the author also heard about their sorrows, their losses, and their tactics for coping with the horribly unfair world they inhabited together. And in the end, it was the togetherness that mattered.
University of Illinois Press. 1325 South Oak Street, Champaign, IL 61820-6903. Tel: 217-244-0626; Fax: 217-244-8082; e-mail: journals@uillinois.edu; Web site: http://www.press.uillinois.edu/journals/main.html
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A