Professors’ Best Kept Secrets

ShhhIn this series on “Professors’ Best Kept Secrets,” I will reveal some real best kept secrets. I will explain connections between campus and professional contexts.

But mostly these are just explanations of “what’s really going on.”

And because I teach Spanish, what this is really about is culture. We all belong to so many different cultures.  On a college campus alone we have all these cultures going on at once: first years, seniors, different ‘schools’ within the college, different majors, athletes, sports fans, Greek culture in general, specific sororities and fraternities, clubs. The list goes on and on and everybody belongs to many different subcultures–some that overlap, some that conflict. It’s complicated!

Faculty members represent another culture with an equally diverse list of subcultures.

When I teach about culture, I don’t want it to be about food, festivals and fiestas.  I want it to be about examining one’s own taken for granted cultural assumptions,  stepping outside of one’s own experiences, and viewing oneself and others from a new perspective.

Instead of “ew! that’s weird,” think of things that you automatically do that could be seen as icky and weird by someone who had never heard of it before. Then reconsider your own reaction to the new and different thing you have encountered.

For the professional workplace context, I want to provide the perspective of another culture that you associate with all the time on campus: your professors.

Tomorrow I kick off the series with a post about letter of recommendation. What do you think the secret is?

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