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Showing posts with label teaching. Show all posts
Showing posts with label teaching. Show all posts

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Breastfeeding at Work?

A fellow mom recently pointed me towards the breastfeeding inclusion policy at the university. Apparently, not only am I allowed to BF McKenna while at work, but she is actually WELCOMED by the university to attend (and nurse) during class.
"Quiet breastfeeding infants and young children are welcome in lecture theatres, public spaces, seminar rooms etc". (Policy 2.0)
 "The number of times a woman needs to breastfeed or express milk will be determined by the individual needs of the mother and the age of the baby and may vary over time" (Policy 4.1)
Holy crap! I had no idea that MUN even had a breastfeeding policy, let alone one that welcomed babies into the classroom.  Not only that, but they have also built it into the orientation for new staff and students, to ensure that people are aware of the policy (presumably so that not only will they take advantage of it themselves, but so that moms will not be harassed by other students/colleagues when breastfeeding).

4.3 Support:
  • The University supports an environment that encourages women to feel at ease breastfeeding their infants and young children throughout the campus. However, there are areas of the university where infants and young children are not permitted due to safety/health concerns or requirements.
  • Support from fellow employees is important in providing a breastfeeding environment and therefore efforts are made to inform employees about this policy to secure their cooperation for any workplace accommodations that may be needed. New employees and students are informed of University policies (including the breastfeeding policy) during orientation.
  • There may be situations or environments within the University when breastfeeding breaks or private space for breastfeeding may not be provided. Other options should be explored with the mother to ensure that her needs are met.
Wow! I am so impressed with MUN. However, I probably still will not take McKenna to class. While I have breastfed her in the comfort and privacy of my office, it is unlikely that I would attempt to do so while lecturing to 90+ students. Still, it's the thought that counts, so thank you MUN, for thinking of me and my baby. And who knows, maybe I will take her to class someday...just to say I  did.

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Don't Call me Doctor

At the beginning of every term, I introduce myself to my students, tell them a bit about myself and my research, and then stress that I would prefer that they call me Melody. Not Professor, not Miss, and certainly not Dr. Sorenson. I am not a Doctor, although I hope to be within the next year or so. I am also not a professor (although again, I hope to be very soon). For right now, I am just me.

Inevitably, especially in the beginning, some students will continue to call me Dr. Sorenson, and for whatever reason, it grates on me. I always hated having to refer to my undergraduate professors by such formal titles. It just felt so stuffy and pretentious that I would avoid addressing them it if at all possible, because I found it to be so awkward. In all seriousness, if I needed to speak to them, I would go up to the front of the class, or their office, or wherever they happened to be, and wait until they noticed me. All to avoid having to say the dreaded words "Dr" or "Professor". Ridiculous, really. However, I'm sure that I'm not the only one who finds these titles a bit silly. Are they necessary in order to gain the students' respect? I would hope not. I have yet to have a problem with disrespect in my classes, and nobody calls me doctor. Okay, some do, but I certainly don't endorse it. Do these titles promote and highlight an obvious power differential? Absolutely. I have complete control over my students' grades. I control the content and structure of the lectures and exams. I am the "expert" (I use this term VERY loosely) and they are the "novices" or the "learners". But is this really necessary? Would all hell break loose if we treated our students like equals? I think not. This isn't high school. We don't need to demand respect from students by requiring them to address us with silly titles.