The Dividing Glass: A Conversation on Bodies, Politics, Teaching & Loss


  • Alyssa D Nicolini


In Teaching by numbers, Peter Taubman (2009) laments “the screaming absence in education of any attention to the inner life of teachers” (p.3).  Framed around a conversation between two former high school teachers at a ‘high-need’ urban school, this multimodal piece seeks to address this void.  Centering on one teacher’s personal-political project—an online collection of abortion stories—and another’s reeling sense of loss after abandoning the profession, the dialogue highlights how the everyday stories we live in multicultural classrooms, rather than glorified sites of pluralism, are confoundingly complex—particularly in the embodied intersections between raced, classed and gendered subjects.  Gesturing towards William Pinar’s (2004) call for ‘complicated conversations’ in education and risking the autobiographical processes of currere, the paper explores the intersections of political, aesthetic and affective domains in teaching and the way our projects—both personal and political—haunt and animate, cripple and enable our lives as students, teachers and researchers.

Author Biography

Alyssa D Nicolini

Alyssa D. Niccolini has taught in Brooklyn, New York, the Khayletisha Township in Cape Town, South Africa and in Germany.  She currently teaches high school students and is a doctoral candidate in English Education at Columbia’s Teachers College where she teaches “Adolescents and Literature” to pre-service masters students.  She currently lives in Brooklyn, New York with her two children, Booker and Hope.