5.24.2006

a beer in the afternoon

recently, in recognition of the semester being over, i indulged myself and accepted an invitation to have a beer in the afternoon. or rather, a cider, to be precise. i sat oustide with two students in our program and watched people walk by as we discussed a range of topics and enjoyed the just-right warmth of a spring day. as i walked back to my office afterwards, i recall feelings of guilt. as if i had broken some unwritten rule... crossed yellow and black caution tape...

earlier this year, i experienced a similar feeling when i shared some ideas for research with some individuals whose support i'll need to move forward with my project ideas. i laid out a plan for engaging youth as co-researchers in exploring certain dimensions of the "school-to-prison" pipeline. i emphasized the role of young people as not only informants but as participants and collaborators in the research design. the questions that followed had less to do with the project and more to do with my sanity regarding this approach. as they raised questions about "safety" and "trustworthiness," i could feel my insides shriveling and slowly detaching themselves from my skin. i began to feel guilty for suggesting new methodology, but later realized that it had more to do with the disruption to business as usual and all of the ontological and epistemological implications such a proposal entailed. it was as if i had taken a swig from a flask right there in the middle of an otherwise civilized meeting.