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Employing a trans/queer lens to instruction at a midwestern public university in the USA, this essay reflects on a pedagogical approach I developed for teaching during the pandemic. I argue that the pressure to adapt to COVID necessitates interrogating the status quo we’re hustling to maintain as educators, including what agenda we’re being asked to tend, and who is expendable in its upkeep. Specifically, the pandemic forced me to rethink the demands that are made of us as educators, and the demands that we, as educators, place on students in return. I rethink what about my LGBT Studies pedagogy stayed and what had to go—for the sake of both mine and my students’ survival. Specifically, I call for emphasizing resiliency in marginalized communities; applying the course content to surprising (or unlikely) contexts; un-equating coverage with equality or quality; eliminating the penalty and punishment/never play, never joy paradigm from infecting pedagogy; motivating students’ self-reflexive impulse to apply critical theory to their personal lives; and maintaining a grading system based on trust, self-care, and mutual respect. Using my redesigned classroom during the pandemic as an example, I hope to inspire readers to consider what is un/livable and un/lovable in their own pedagogical practice.
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