The first time I had a student in crisis, I called a friend who was a psychiatrist at the VA and asked for help.

She told me a few things. First, that I needed to know my boundaries and limits. It wasn't appropriate for me to take responsibility for my students' mental health.
Second, that as a trusted employee who worked closely with students, it was my responsibility to be informed about resources for students.

I needed to know what was available, what it cost, and how to access it. I also needed to know which choices were dangerous. For example:
At my university, calling the emergency health line could send police to a students' home. That was not a safe resource for my students. It was my responsibility to know that, and to know the alternative routes to support.
Third, she told me I needed to know how & when to intervene. She talked me through what it would look like to leave the classroom with a student in distress and walk with them to the health center. The next day, I made that walk myself, and talked to staff there.
Why am I bringing this up today?

Because right now, many students are in crisis.

It can feel overwhelming as an instructor to feel responsible for their care, without having resources to do so. Especially when many of us non-students are in crisis, too.
The conversation that I had with my friend helped me feel empowered and also take better care of myself. I hope it can help you too.
(And so much gratitude to Sarah, who is an amazing person on so many fronts, and who helped me when I needed it while she was a grad student herself)
Oh, and one more thing: This is a perfect example of how small-scale collective action can have a large impact.

If I were in a department right now, I might think about how I could gather this information and share it with my colleagues. Especially grad student instructors.

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More from @hralperta

14 May 20
went for a run and had to stop to wait for some goslings to cross the road and also had some reflections on my medieval academy talk today that I wanted share.
I'm thinking about two questions I got after my talk.

First, from a professor: we do lots of alt-ac programming, but no one comes.

Second, from a student: I feel like if I prepare for alt-ac I'll damage my chances on the job market.
To the student: I have no data about this, and I haven't sat on a search committee. But I bet you're right.

I started doing 'alt ac' work very early in my grad career. It made my work 1000x better. I don't regret it. But I suspect it made me illegible to academic departments.
Read 12 tweets
19 Jun 19
So I just read student evaluations for The History of the Book in the Americas and Beyond #JCBBookHistory and I'm so pleased that the students felt like they benefitted from the course. But it's bittersweet because I don't know when (if?) I'll get to work with undergrads again!
I wanted to share some things I learned about teaching book history in special collections. I should say this was a really unusual class: a small and very thoughtful group of students, embedded in a rare books library, and co-instructed by the library director and curator.
Lesson 1: fewer (and slower) is better

Guest speakers Aaron Hyman and Dana Leibsohn gave the students 90 minutes to work with two books: Thomas Harriot's 'Briefe and True Report' (Frankfurt, 1590) and a facsimile of the Codex Boturini (1/3)
Read 15 tweets

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