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Stacey Goguen

Oh nice, I like the idea of students introducing themselves to a partner, and then the partner introducing them to the class. I might use that for my smaller classes.

One thing I do is have my students write for 10-15 minutes on two values that are important to their lives. (I give them a list of about 40 values to pick from). This (a) introduces them to me, (b) gives me a sense of where their writing is at, and (c) potentially helps inoculate them from feeling like they don't belong in the class, or that this isn't their space.

Another thing I did this year, that I poached from another teacher, is to have students answer 3 questions and hand them in to me. (This was for an intro to gender studies course).
The questions were:
--What do you think gender is?
--What are any questions you have about gender or gender issues?
--What is something you want me to know about you, as a student, or as a person in general?

This worked wonderfully: I got to see that most of my students already lean towards identifying gender as one's self-identity more than (or in addition to) biology.
I also learned that the #1 question students had was about transgender issues, and what the experience of being trans gender is like, and whether there's a single known cause of feeling like you are another gender.
And it was really nice that students opened up and told me about their obligations (sports, children, etc.) that might interfere with class, as well as their fears, such as their anxiety disorder getting in the way of them doing good work, or them saying something disrespectful or inappropriate during class.

I am definitely going to try to do this for all of my classes going forward.

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