S.10 E.3: “Stay Current, Listen, and Love the Work”

Learning for Life @ Gustavus host Greg Kaster interviews Gustavus education professor and deaf and hard of hearing advocate Lisa Dembouski.
Posted on September 21st, 2021 by

Dr. Lisa Dembouski of the Gustavus Department of Education on her path from psychology major to educator of future teachers, her near-total hearing loss and work with deaf and hard of hearing students, achieving equity and inclusion for those on the margins, letting go in the classroom, her department’s Global Educators program, and her kayaking travelogue.

Season 10, Episode 3: “Stay Current, Listen, and Love the Work”

Greg Kaster:

Hello, and welcome to Learning for Life @ Gustavus, the podcast about people teaching and learning at Gustavus Adolphus College, and the myriad ways a Gustavus Liberal Arts education provides a lasting foundation for lives of fulfillment and purpose. I’m your host, Greg Kaster, a faculty member in the Department of History.

Asked once to summarize her teaching philosophy in just a few words, my colleague and guest today replied, “Stay current, listen, build relationships, care, love the work.” Dr. Lisa Dembouski of the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education at Gustavus practices her philosophy with incredible skill, success, energy, and commitment.

Professor Dembouski was a psychology major at the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University in Minnesota. She later attended the University of Minnesota, where she earned her master’s in special education, and doctorate in education, curriculum, and instruction. She joined the Gustavus faculty in 2014, following more than a decade of teaching deaf and hard of hearing, or DHH students, in St Paul Public Schools. That work was quite personal since in her 20s, Lisa herself experienced severe hearing loss as a result of Ménière’s disease.

At Gustavus, Lisa focuses on teacher preparation. She has also been quite involved in her department’s innovative Global Educators Program for which she developed and led a 2020 January term course about schooling on the island of Saint Martin in the Caribbean.

A scholar and faculty leader, as well as teacher, she has numerous professional publications and presentations to her credit, and has been active in faculty mentoring, and the work of equity and inclusion on campus. In addition to professor, Lisa’s biography includes Peace Corps Volunteer in Ecuador, Wilderness Survival counselor, Master Gardener volunteer, and most recently, author of a travel log manuscript about solo kayaking on the St. Croix and Namekagon Rivers.

All of which is to say she’s quite interesting and accomplished with lots of insights into teaching, learning, and life, and I’m delighted she could join me for this conversation. So Lisa, welcome to the podcast. It’s great to have you on.

Lisa Dembouski:

Thank you so much. It’s my pleasure to be here, and I appreciate being invited.

Greg Kaster:

Oh yeah, my pleasure as well. And we should note that listeners may hear a cat in the background. That’s your cat. And I love cats and dogs, so we could ask the cat some questions, too, and see what happens.

Anyway. Yeah. Great to have you on. You’ve been on sabbatical this last spring semester, but tell me about our experience teaching during the pandemic. How did that go? Were you all online at all points or hybrid?

Lisa Dembouski:

That’s a great question. And I feel like if you ask 10 people, you’re going to get 10 different experiences about what teaching during the pandemic has been like for everyone.

For me, personally, when we went all online in the spring of ’19, I don’t know if you remember what that felt like, but it was chaos and it was-

Greg Kaster:

It was horrible.

Lisa Dembouski:

It was. And it wasn’t working. I felt like I was working 24/7 just to try to have something for students, because pretty much the world imploded, right? Everything-

Greg Kaster:

Right.

Lisa Dembouski:

… fell down and caved in. And I was trying to work with something to help my students feel like we’ve still got this, and we can still do this despite the fact that it will look different.

And so I spent a great deal of time working on that, that spring, and sort of guiding us along, limping through the remainder of that semester. Then the summer following that, I spent every minute of my professional development on ways to be an awesome online instructor. And took everything I could get my hands on, with regard to the best kinds of pedagogies, and the best principles behind remote or distance learning. I spent, literally, the entire summer working on that and developing and preparing all my courses for fall to be all online.

So that’s what I was, in fall of ’19, I was all online. And again, working my guts out. I was part of a video that was, basically, created for students just to tell them we’re here for you, you’ve got… You were in it, so you know exactly the video I’m talking about.

Greg Kaster:

Oh, yeah. That’s right. You were in it too. That’s right, we were both in it. Yeah.

Lisa Dembouski:

Yeah. So we were both in that. I actually am very proud of that video, and it made me smile, it made me laugh. It made me feel pride.

Greg Kaster:

Yes.

Lisa Dembouski:

And in that video, I said, “We are all working our guts out.” And that remained true the whole way through. Because I think teaching is just so personal, and it’s so interpersonal.

Greg Kaster:

Yes.

Lisa Dembouski:

So you have to work really hard when you’re not face-to-face to still build that community within the classroom, for example, and to still have students talking to one another and with me and that interaction. It’s the personal part that I thought was the hardest to try to cultivate, and so that’s why I spent-

Greg Kaster:

Yes.

Lisa Dembouski:

… the most time on it.

Greg Kaster:

Yes. I agree with you. Words I hope never to hear again, but I know I will, synchronous and asynchronous, and the initial advice was, “Do more asynchronous.” And I said to myself, “No.” I mean, I’d never taught online, and like you, I was scrambling. I was grateful that Gustavus gave us, really, I think we had two weeks to get ready, something like that. We were lucky.

Lisa Dembouski:

Yes.

Greg Kaster:

But I decided, the way I teach, I can only do it online, if I’m seeing the students. I can’t just do asynchronous, mostly, so I just flipped it. I did synchronous mostly, with some asynchronous, and we got through it reasonably well. But yeah, it was stressful. It was not fun. And I just can’t wait to get back in the classroom, even though, now, we’ll have to be wearing masks, which I get. And as you’re speaking, by the way, I’m thinking, here you are, your expertise is teacher preparation, and of course, I suppose nowhere in the handbook is it, how to prepare for teaching during a pandemic.

Lisa Dembouski:

Nowhere at all. We have had to write that handbook in flight.

Greg Kaster:

Yeah, seriously. What about, did student teaching completely stop or did it go online? What happened?

Lisa Dembouski:

Well, that’s a great question. It ran the gamut. It depended on the host schools and where we were sending our teacher candidates, who, when I called them that, I mean our Gustavus students, but they’re on a professional track working toward teacher licensure to work in K-12 schools, and so we call them teacher candidates. And depending on where each of them was placed, they all had to be ready to go and do whatever that school building or that school district had decided, in terms of their delivery for K-12 pupils.

And we literally had that same gamut. So there were some who were entirely online all the way to entirely in-person, and then, literally, everything in between hybrid, high flex, and a variety of other scenarios, including, and this one I thought was the hardest, some of the teacher candidates had kids on, say, Tuesdays and Thursdays, and they had the other half of the class on Mondays and Wednesdays, and then on Friday-

Greg Kaster:

Oh, wow.

Lisa Dembouski:

… everybody was asynchronous or synchronous, but remote. It was again, chaos. And here’s the thing, and our teacher candidates not only had never experienced learning like that, they, of course, had never experienced teaching like that, and had to learn it on their feet. And bless them, they were magnificent.

It was not easy. They spent so much extra time and effort then maybe they were expecting to spend. And yet, there they were, and they did it, and they have done it since. And I can tell you, I just last week had my first seminar with the fall student teachers, the ones who are going out into schools this fall, and they’re a whole other group. Compared to the one from spring of 2019, this group now has been seeing and experienced the pandemic from a student’s perspective. And the fact that-

Greg Kaster:

Yes.

Lisa Dembouski:

… things have been changing constantly. And because of that, they are the most experienced, and they are the most, what I’m calling, COVID resilient group that I have ever seen. And I am supremely proud of them, because in seminar last week, I was telling them, “Guess what? Masks are back, but not for everybody. And we don’t know for how long. And so you’re going to have to find out, when you get to working with your cooperating teacher in your schools, and by the way, those rules might change.” And you know what? They didn’t bat an eye. They were like, “Yep. Got it. We expect it.” Amazing. I’m so proud of them.

Greg Kaster:

And you should be right. I am too, even though I don’t know them. That’s a really interesting point, which I had not thought of, which is, the difference between those going into student teaching with the pandemic under their belt, so to speak versus those who didn’t have that experience. That’s extremely interesting.

And the word resilience. I mean, I know that word gets thrown around a lot, but it really is true. I’m proud of our students, in general. I think contrary to some of the media narratives anyway, that the students, by and large, have been resilient. I honestly-

Lisa Dembouski:

Exactly.

Greg Kaster:

… I didn’t find students breaking down or having, “Oh my God, this is…” I mean, they rose to the occasion as, as most of us did, most of the faculty, I think all of us did. Anyway, that’s really interesting. And what a challenge and also, I suppose, one day they’ll look back and be grateful for that. I mean, what a proverbial baptism by fire, how much learning goes on.

Lisa Dembouski:

And you know what? Exactly. And many of them started out thinking, especially last year, many of them were thinking, okay, but I’m not getting the kinds of experience I’m going to need in the future. I’m getting this online teaching experience, but that’s not the way school’s really going to work. And it’s like, oh, guess what? It’s still that. It’s still-

Greg Kaster:

That’s right.

Lisa Dembouski:

… a lot of schools are talking about online. And even, actually, before the end of student teaching, in their semester, they realized, “Oh no, I can use these skills no matter what. And they will translate across whatever teaching modality I’ll end up using. And I’ve got all these new technology skills on top of it.” So they saw-

Greg Kaster:

Yes.

Lisa Dembouski:

… the benefits.

Greg Kaster:

Yeah. That’s great points. And I agree, even, in my own case, I feel so much of what I learned, not as you did by… I read a little bit, I didn’t devote my summer to trying to be better online [inaudible 00:11:46], I’m a bit embarrassed to say. But I do feel that I learned some methods or techniques while teaching online that will help me as a teacher in-person, in terms of connecting with the students and facilitating discussion, and even using more online technology or digital technology than I have in the past. So, yeah, I think those are all really, really good points. In other words, what I don’t like is when I read or hear people say, “Well, it’s a total, it’s a horrible, it’s a complete…” It’s not, right?

Maybe for some kids, and certainly for parents, I can imagine it’s been awful, don’t want to minimize that. But there’s been a lot of resilience, as you’ve said, and learning, and a lot of things that will carry over for the good, I think.

Lisa Dembouski:

Exactly.

Greg Kaster:

We all wish we didn’t have to go through the pandemic. Yeah, but, if only we could do that without pandemic. But, anyway, I just really don’t like those narratives that paint such a bleak picture of students and what students have or haven’t gotten out of their learning, their classroom learning or online learning, I should say. Anyway, tell us a little bit about where you grew up? Did you grow up in Minnesota?

Lisa Dembouski:

Okay. This might sound weird, but I grew up in Gustavus’ backyard.

Greg Kaster:

Oh, really?

Lisa Dembouski:

Yep. Well, sort of, we moved to Southern Minnesota. My parents live out on Lake Washington, and we moved there in the late ’70s. And so I was just going into sixth grade that year. And so from sixth grade through 12th grade, I lived in Gustavus’ backyard.

Greg Kaster:

That’s funny.

Lisa Dembouski:

Before that, though, we were in the metro, we were in the Twin Cities suburbs. So I’ve been a Minnesota born and raised person, even though I’ve been away from Minnesota for large chunks of time. I’m Minnesotan at heart, and I’m still here.

Greg Kaster:

What did your parents do? What were your parents doing?

Lisa Dembouski:

Okay. Well, we moved to the area because my father got a business opportunity. He’s a retail, or he was, he’s retired now, but he worked in retail, and he got the chance to be a co-owner of a business in Mankato, and so we moved for that purpose. And my mother was the stay-at-home kind, until, oh, let’s see, it was shortly after we moved down here, actually. And then she took a job as the school secretary, like for the principal in the school where we were all enrolled.

Greg Kaster:

Sure.

Lisa Dembouski:

And I was sure, I was positive that she took that job, because she want to keep an eye on me. And I felt like she was spying. And she later admitted, she was. I wasn’t even paranoid-

Greg Kaster:

Of course.

Lisa Dembouski:

I was paranoid for a good reason. That’s exactly why she took that job. And so she did-

Greg Kaster:

Yes. I have a beloved aunt who did what your mom did and was doing the same thing to her daughter, we now know, and her daughter went into teaching as you did.

Lisa Dembouski:

Okay, so-

Greg Kaster:

I mean, growing up… go ahead. No, go ahead.

Lisa Dembouski:

I was just going to say, what’s the deal? Why do we look so untrustworthy? I’m not sure why… she never said why she thought that she needed to keep an eye on me, but I don’t think it was a coincidence that after I graduated, she also quit that job and went into real estate. She was a realtor. So I don’t know-

Greg Kaster:

That’s excellent.

Lisa Dembouski:

… you tell me people, what do you think my mom was doing?

Greg Kaster:

I’m going for more than coincidence. Yeah. That’s funny, I did not know that about where you grew up. So was Gustavus not in the picture for you, because you basically grew up on the campus? Or did you consider going there? What brought you to St John, St Ben’s.

Lisa Dembouski:

Okay. That’s exactly why I told you this story about being raised in Gustavus’ backyard, because I knew that when I went to college, number one, I knew I was going to college. I knew that that was in the cards for me, because I’m just one of those people who loves to learn. And I could be in school still, if you let me. And in a way I sort of am, given what I do now-

Greg Kaster:

And you are.

Lisa Dembouski:

… and what my work is. So I knew I was going to college. And I also knew I wanted a small liberal arts institution. There was something about the small class sizes, but the liberal arts, in particular, did and continue to enchant me. I loved the ways that you get experiences with and think about, and learn about things that maybe you otherwise wouldn’t have, and yet end up being significant contributors to yourself and your quality of life, overall.

For example, you get to take the philosophy classes and the theology classes and the world languages, and I love that. And so I knew I wanted-

Greg Kaster:

Yes.

Lisa Dembouski:

… liberal arts and I knew I wanted a small, and when you’re going for small, it usually ends up being private. And so I did look at Gustavus. I did consider being a student here as well, but it was just too dang close. I just needed to get a little farther away. And I’m really glad I did St Ben’s and St John’s was an amazing experience. I’ve met lifelong-

Greg Kaster:

Great schools.

Lisa Dembouski:

… friends there. Yeah. And it is a great school, they are great schools. And so I’m glad for that, but it’s also really weird and funny and wonderful to have returned.

Greg Kaster:

Yeah. I like that arc. So when you got to St Ben’s and St John’s, were you already thinking about the psych major? Or is that something that evolved over time?

Lisa Dembouski:

I knew that’s exactly what I wanted to do. That was in the cards from-

Greg Kaster:

Why?

Lisa Dembouski:

… the beginning. Because-

Greg Kaster:

Why?

Lisa Dembouski:

… I already thought I knew what I wanted to do. Well, there were two parts to it. I love the human mind, that was it. And I love unique human minds in particular. And so that was what initially drew me to psychology and psychological sciences. And then I also thought I knew what my career track was going to be at the time. I was highly, keenly interested, and by the way, I still am, even though I have zero training in this now, but I am keenly interested in neurodiversity. And my goal at the time was, I was interested in working with alternative to pharmaceutical therapies for neurodiversity. For example, people with schizophrenia are often given a whole drug store, a load of attempts at finding a good pharmaceutical balance for their mental health.

And I was interested in non-pharmaceutical approaches as a supplement, or in addition to medical treatments. I wanted both holistic approaches and I wanted the medical focus to not be the only focus with regard to neurodiversity, so that’s what I went in for.

The second thing, though, that I was interested in when I went to St Ben’s and St John’s was, I wanted to learn Spanish, and I wanted to travel abroad. Because in the back of my head, somewhere in my early, like maybe my first year there, I learned about the Peace Corps. And the second I heard that-

Greg Kaster:

Yes.

Lisa Dembouski:

… a light went off in my head, and I knew I was going to join the Peace Corps. And so I did the things that I needed to do to get the experiences that the Peace Corps looks favorably upon. And so that was-

Greg Kaster:

You went to Spain, right?

Lisa Dembouski:

… Track B. Yep, I did a study away in Spain, that was part of it. Yes. I loved that too, by the way, that was awesome. Study away is for everybody, in my opinion.

Greg Kaster:

Yes. I’m with you. You went to Spain. I went to Mexico, so similar Spanish speaking countries, but I loved it. I went there as a junior. Absolutely changed my life in so many important ways.

Lisa Dembouski:

And… Yep.

Greg Kaster:

Did you… Go ahead. No, go ahead.

Lisa Dembouski:

Oh, I was just going to say, and it’s something like, that will be with you forever. That is a gift-

Greg Kaster:

Yes.

Lisa Dembouski:

… you gave yourself that nobody can ever take away. Those memories are still incredibly rich in my own mind, even though it was a really long time ago. I can’t say enough good things about the study away.

Greg Kaster:

Same here. And we’re lucky Gustavus has such a great track record and all kinds of programs to allow students to do that. Yeah, that’s absolutely right-

Lisa Dembouski:

Yes.

Greg Kaster:

… what you just said about never forgetting. In fact, when students were talking about international or study abroad study away, I show them a ceramic, I guess, it’s kind of like, I don’t know what to call it, it’s sort of a pot. I’m not sure what to call it. Anyway, I was in Mexico with my then girlfriend from high school, and our landlady gave me this at the very end, and said, “You keep this. Don’t ever lose this.” And I’ve kept it ever since.

Lisa Dembouski:

Awesome.

Greg Kaster:

And so I don’t know, it was 40… I mean, I’m 68. I’ve kept it for more than 40 years. Yeah. It fell and broke once, I pieced it back together as best I could. Oh, and it has her name on it. That’s right. Her first name was Rosita. She was Rosita Rivera, and I think it has Rosita on it. Yeah, I mean, these are powerful experiences that do stay with you in all kinds of ways. So I just want to echo what you said. So was your hearing loss developing while you were in college? Or was-

Lisa Dembouski:

No.

Greg Kaster:

… that later?

Lisa Dembouski:

That was later. I actually was living abroad then, when I was in the… I had met my goal. I had joined the Peace Corps. I was in Ecuador, South America. And it was about halfway through my tenure as a volunteer that I started to get sick. And that was the Ménière’s disease. And I maintained my hearing for a little while, once the Ménière’s kind of kicked in. And by the way, a lot of times, people, when I say the word Ménière’s disease, they’re like, “Oh yeah, I know somebody who’s got that.”

It seems to be kind of a strange, throw a rock and you can hit somebody who knows somebody who’s got Ménière’s. So anybody who knows me, you’re the one getting hit by the rock. But it was Ménière’s that has a whole bunch of other symptoms that go along with it, including balance and dizziness problems and that kind of thing.

Greg Kaster:

Yes.

Lisa Dembouski:

And when I was in Ecuador, those were the things that were pestering me more. So I was trying to get a grip on not throwing up all the time, because I was dizzy all the time. So that was a-

Greg Kaster:

Oh, that’s horrible.

Lisa Dembouski:

It was bad. It was pretty bad. We-

Greg Kaster:

And by the way, Kay and I do know someone who has Ménière’s, I mean, so there you go.

Lisa Dembouski:

See I told you. I told you. It’s this weird thing.

Greg Kaster:

Yep, absolutely.

Lisa Dembouski:

It’s familiar enough that people have heard of it. In addition to the balance and the dizziness issues, another side effect, I guess, or something that can happen to people with Ménière’s is hearing loss. And, like I said, it didn’t happen to me initially, but over time it did. I was in my early 20s, when I was in the Peace Corps, but by my mid 20s, I had lost all the hearing in one ear. So one ear is completely deaf. And I lost a very large chunk of the hearing in my other ear. And they told me, “We don’t know if it’s going to come back, and we don’t know if you’re going to lose more.”

And it’s interesting, actually, because around that same time, I was like, “Wow, what happens if I go totally deaf? I’m going to need a career and a job that I can do, even if that happens.” So my hearing loss actually is why I’m a teacher, because I thought, well, hey, I’m kind of already a teacher anyway, not formally and not officially, but it’s what I’ve been doing as a Peace Corps volunteer. It was the same, when I worked as a wilderness survival counselor, ultimately I was teaching in that work. And so I was like, “Okay, well, let’s just do what you are anyway, Lisa, you’re a teacher go back and learn how to be one,” so that’s what I did. And that’s what I’ve been ever since.

Greg Kaster:

I mean, losing one’s hearing, I mean, would be challenging to say the least at any age, but especially in your 20s, I would think when, yeah, you’re trying to figure out, what do I want to do? I mean, was it traumatic? I mean, was it emotionally wrenching for you? Or was it just so gradual that you were kind of able to adapt and get used to it? And these may all be dumb questions, I don’t know.

Lisa Dembouski:

No, they’re not dumb questions, but they’re interesting ones, because… I’m going to tell you this too. I’ll be honest that at the beginning, yes, it was very hard, because when you are one thing and you’re used to being one way, and then that thing changes for whatever reason, it takes some adjusting, right? You need to make adaptations.

Greg Kaster:

Right.

Lisa Dembouski:

You need to learn-

Greg Kaster:

Of course.

Lisa Dembouski:

… some things have to come and go, so all that part was hard. Another thing that was hard was the fact that some of the things I used to do for fun changed. For example, I used to play the guitar and I used to sing badly, but I played the guitar moderately all right. And when I was trying to play through my hearing loss, it just sounded so wrong and different to what I was familiar with that I just gave that up.

And I will say, I do kind of miss some of those things sometimes, but I also want to say this-

Greg Kaster:

Sure.

Lisa Dembouski:

… once you get through the adjustment, it’s not such a big deal and it’s not so bad. And I point out, regularly, how it’s better for me, now, than it was then. For example, you’ve seen hashtags with like-

Greg Kaster:

Yes.

Lisa Dembouski:

… a hashtag and then whatever the thing is, I have a hashtag I use frequently that I call a hearing people problems. And I use it with people every time they say stuff like, “Oh, I couldn’t believe the storm last night, that thunder was so loud. It woke me up.” Boom, hashtag hearing people problems. Or, “That neighbor’s dog kept me up for hours. It was barking. Why didn’t they let that dog in?” Hearing people problems, right? So there are actually a lot of things I have better than y’all do, because the second I take out my hearing devices, I don’t have those problems, and I sleep like a baby.

Greg Kaster:

That’s excellent. Hashtag hearing people… I like that. That’s great. Well, I mean, no, I had no idea, until I started preparing for our conversation that you had experienced the hearing loss you did. I had no idea. I mean, not even aware of it. And I just think that that adds another layer of interest to your biography. And I love biography. I’ve never written one, but I love reading about people’s lives, and talking to people about their lives,, as we are now.

So it certainly didn’t prevent you from continuing, in fact, in some ways helped you, as you’re saying, to decide on a career in education. So you went to the University of Minnesota and you did your MED in special ed, and then you did the doctorate and you wrote this dissertation, I want listeners to hear the title, Telling our stories: What my urban, multiply-challenged, deaf and hard of hearing students taught me about ability, schooling, and learning to teach. Great title, and as I mentioned before we started recording, I’ve read just a tiny bit of the dissertation. I loved it. I just loved what I read. I found it moving, interesting. And I wonder if you could just tell us a little bit about, what the dissertation involved, in terms of research? What your findings were? What’s distinctive about it?

Lisa Dembouski:

Sure. I will say too, you need to bear with me, because that was a long time ago. I published that-

Greg Kaster:

I know.

Lisa Dembouski:

… thing in 2010, right?

Greg Kaster:

It was 2010, right.

Lisa Dembouski:

It’s going on-

Greg Kaster:

Yes.

Lisa Dembouski:

… 11 years old, now, so bear with me if I don’t get all the details right. But I did love that work.

Greg Kaster:

Will do.

Lisa Dembouski:

It’s a narrative inquiry, basically, a critical, socially just focused narrative inquiry, in which I took graduates of my DHH programs in St Paul schools, I invited them to have me talk to them or be interviewed. And the reason was, is because, I don’t think those stories get told enough. I don’t think we hear enough from the people that were there to serve and for whom we teach. And I had learned just a few short years into my teaching career that I had not been adequately prepared to do what I needed to do for them, which is why I went back to school, actually.

I’m like, “I need more. This wasn’t enough.” So I thing where I was teaching full-time, I was taking graduate school classes part-time, and I was developing in my mind, having these daily… oh, excuse me, these daily experiences with my wonderful students, and then thinking about how much they were teaching me as I was teaching them. And so that’s how it all started. And so I did several interviews with grads, because I didn’t want to deal with IRB with children. So I only took grads who were of a legal adult age, and then I just sat down and talked to them. And it was amazing, because I had a history already, we knew how to communicate with one another. And they taught me, again, just like they were doing in the classroom, they taught me so much more outside of the classroom, and as a part of that work.

And so that’s pretty much what it was, me sharing what they taught me. And in particular, the three main ideas that they brought to the surface, for me, were just like, what’s in the title, I started rethinking what is meant by the word ability or disability.

Greg Kaster:

Yes.

Lisa Dembouski:

And that work actually has been the most significant in terms of impacting what I do at Gustavus now, too. And with particular regard to my course called inclusive classrooms. I share a lot of that new thinking in that class with my Gusties. And a lot of times, for many of them, they say, that’s the first time they’ve ever heard notions of ability or disability even framed in that way before. So I try-

Greg Kaster:

Talk a little bit more about that, if you would.

Lisa Dembouski:

I will.

Greg Kaster:

Tell me a little bit more about that.

Lisa Dembouski:

I sure will. I’d be glad to, because-

Greg Kaster:

Because I want… Yeah. I mean, that interests me, the whole ability, disability, and then sometimes it’s dis/ability. Talk a little bit about how the word disability is problematic.

Lisa Dembouski:

Well, okay. Actually, the word disability is not problematic. And in fact, many in the disability community prefer that term. They don’t want to be known as a person with a disability. They want to be known as a disabled person, because it is an identifier for them, part of their identity. And they’re owning it, and they’re claiming it with pride, much like the way, for example, LGBTQ community has reclaimed the word queer.

Greg Kaster:

True.

Lisa Dembouski:

It’s a very similar notion, where this word used to be used negatively. And yet, you know what, we don’t see disability as a negative thing. And therefore, we want you to use the word disabled or disability, because it’s okay. And that’s just an example of the way we can flip scripts on people think about ability.

Greg Kaster:

Yes, okay, that helps me. That helps me, because that’s a word, in my mind, that is problematic, but you’re helping them understand why it’s not, and how it’s been appropriated and repurposed in positive ways. And there, I should remind myself too, and you’re reminding me, there’s now whole area, disability studies and disability history. When you use the word you use it with the backslash as I’ve seen or sometimes dis in parentheses? Or do you just, disability, as one word?

Lisa Dembouski:

Okay. That’s a great question too. I used to. I used to write the word… Actually, no, I won’t even say used to. I sometimes do use the backslash, and the reason I do that is this, I believe that there is a range of ability. Almost like a continuum, where you are more or less able at one point in time, depending on where you are and what you’re expected to do, so it’s a continuum.

For example, let’s say you, Greg, walk into a room where everybody in the room is signing. Do you know any sign language?

Greg Kaster:

No.

Lisa Dembouski:

Okay. So you, as the non-signing person walking into a room full of people who are signing are the one at a disadvantage. You don’t sign.

Greg Kaster:

I’m now disabled. Yeah, that makes sense.

Lisa Dembouski:

Exactly. Exactly. Just like when deaf people walk into a room or no one is signing, then they’re the disabled person. Because it’s who they are, where they are, and what they’re expected to do, so it’s a range.

Or here’s another example, let’s say, it’s nighttime, and the power goes out, who is more likely to be able to get around, you or someone who’s blind?

Greg Kaster:

Yes, not me.

Lisa Dembouski:

So blindness is considered to be a disability and a disadvantage, but not in that circumstance, so it’s a continuum.

Greg Kaster:

This is awesome to me, because I’m a historian and we care a lot about context, and that’s really what you’re getting at, the continuum, and it’s related to the context, what’s the context, right? So in one-

Lisa Dembouski:

Yep.

Greg Kaster:

… context, I’m the disabled person. I like that. And I like idea of a continuum. So this has been helpful to me, thank you.

Lisa Dembouski:

That’s great.

Greg Kaster:

I feel differently about that word now. So the dissertation, as you’re suggesting, what I really love about it is the way you… I don’t know which came first, your teaching philosophy and then this, but they’re related. One of the points about your teaching is you stress the need to listen, which I will come back to in a bit, but that’s really what your dissertation does.

I mean, you listened to these former students, and then you center them, they’re the center of dissertation, and there are just wonderful passages from them. And then interspersed with those passages, and these are all in different fonts, you’ve got your academic voice, where you’re doing the analysis and summaries, but then you also have you, which I really, really love. And I wonder if you could say a little bit more about that. How did you come upon that approach? Did you decide at the start, I want to put me into the dissertation as well, that way? Or did it just happen as you were thinking about how to write the diss?

Lisa Dembouski:

Well, let me say, first of all, that, yes, you described it perfectly. That is exactly how I did things. And I will also admit it was terrifying, because I was honest, and I told some of my own stories that weren’t my favorites, for example. But they were my experiences and they were, I thought, important to the whole, they contributed. I wasn’t just telling them for the purpose of telling them, or because I wanted to complain.

Greg Kaster:

Yes.

Lisa Dembouski:

I thought that they had a purpose. Those stories had a purpose and some meaning. So it was terrifying to do that and to lay myself out so barely there. I was vulnerable. It was a vulnerable place to be, particularly, with a couple of my committee members, who I had to challenge to allow me to do that in the first place. Because-

Greg Kaster:

Yes. I wondered about that, because-

Lisa Dembouski:

Yes. It is atypical type of dissertation and atypical type of research. And yet I advocated for it quite strongly.

Greg Kaster:

Well, it worked. I think it worked. I just-

Lisa Dembouski:

Well, thank you.

Greg Kaster:

You’re welcome.

Lisa Dembouski:

Thank you. To answer your question about, like, why did I do that? And why did I include stories of me? The short answer is, I didn’t see how I could leave myself out. As a narrative researcher, you’re there, and no matter what you listened to and what your participants tell you and the stories that they bring forward, you’re still there. And in my case, I had a dual interpretation. Not only was I listening to their stories, but I was translating them, in most cases, from their version of sign language, into English, so I was doubly interpreting. So I couldn’t not be there, and that’s why I needed to add my own, when I thought it mattered, or when I thought it would help clarify, add my own stories.

Greg Kaster:

Yes. And you just said something important for anybody listening, by the way, the dissertation is available online, and I would urge people to read it. I want to read the rest of it. As I said, I didn’t just read some of it in preparing for the podcast. But absolutely correct what you just said, you do not overdue you in the dissertation. You insert yourself when it’s appropriate, and when it’s effective. It’s not at all gratuitous or solipsistic or anything like that. It’s, I think, really powerful.

And if you don’t mind, I’d actually like to read from, I think, it may be the very last paragraph of your dissertation, which I found very moving, and then ask you to comment on it a bit. The final paragraph comes under a heading, finally, my final thoughts. And this is what you wrote referring to your students or former students that are at the center of the dissertation.

“I have several hopes, multiple things I wish to help make happen. I wish for as much freedom and independence as they can safely manage. I wish for equity in all things, particularly housing, employment, and recreational choices. I wish for strong voices, clear and easy communication, and the luxury of being understood, at least some of the time. I wished for equal access, fair and judicious expectations, and the chance to share their strengths and contribute to their families and communities. Perhaps most of all, I wish to take these individuals out of the margins of our culture and society, because it is there, in the center, that all of my other hopes are more likely to happen.”

Yeah. That’s just, one, great writing, I think. And moving and wow. I mean, can you comment more on that? I mean, you’re helping to take these people, these individuals out of the margins, but, I mean, what is going to be required to achieve all those wishes once they’re out of the margins? I mean, is it politics, primarily? Is it a social movement? I mean, a mix of the two? Other factors?

Lisa Dembouski:

Well, thank you for reading that, by the way, I had forgotten that that was how I ended my dissertation. It was-

Greg Kaster:

My pleasure.

Lisa Dembouski:

I felt just as strongly about those words then as I do now. I mean, I still feel that same way about, every word is still true. And every word, I would even expand it to mean more than just my students or my former students or the participants in that study. I mean, it to anybody who finds themselves on the margins, whenever they are-

Greg Kaster:

Yes.

Lisa Dembouski:

… wherever they are.

Greg Kaster:

Yes.

Lisa Dembouski:

I want that for everyone. And you’re asking-

Greg Kaster:

Yes. That is exactly how I read it, by the way.

Lisa Dembouski:

Yeah. Okay, good. Oh, good. I’m glad.

Greg Kaster:

That is exactly how I read it, and why I loved it. Yeah. Because, I mean, it’s applicable to anyone on the margins. Yeah. But, yes, go ahead. I’m sorry.

Lisa Dembouski:

Right. No, no problem. Okay, so you’re asking, well, how does that change? And believe me, if I knew, I’d have been doing it already. But I do think one thing that that helps and gets us down the road to change is, sort of what we’ve been talking about even just today, during this podcast. For example, the definition of disability and using the slash or not, and the continuum of ability. All of those things, sometimes, I believe, are brand new ideas to people.

And so my thought is, let’s make them not brand new. Let’s start to make alternative thoughts and understandings more in the mainstream, more familiar to more-

Greg Kaster:

Yes.

Lisa Dembouski:

… people. Because when we do, because it’s more familiar and less foreign, it’s more likely to be implemented or considered. Or it might not be the last thing people think about anymore, but maybe it will be in the middle thing they think about, in terms of making adaptations to what they do or how X thing, it’s a simple thing, but it’s something that would allow access for so many more people. It would remove barriers. And so I think we need to start with what we know and understand. We need to expand what we know and understand. And when we do, we can then start to take the actions like granting more equitable access, considering more voices, and so forth. It basically, I’m thinking-

Greg Kaster:

That’s a great answer, I think.

Lisa Dembouski:

… it boils down to education. Which, bang, that’s why I’m here.

Greg Kaster:

Exactly where I was doing. Precisely. So much of social change, I think, is about, it’s about education. It’s about organizing, absolutely, it’s important, and policy. But politics, too, it’s about education. Totally, I couldn’t agree more. Thank you for that passage. I’m glad it’s still rings powerfully and true for you today. It’s only 10 years later, but still 10 years later. I really was struck by that.

When I’m reading something, I tend to start with the intro and then jump to the conclusion. And I was really, really moved to find that. So you’re a master teacher. I mean, let’s just cut to the chase here, there’s no question about that. And one of the things about your philosophy and your approach that I really, really appreciate, and try to do myself, is this idea of listening.

And I’m actually trying to find another quote. You said something about how… Oh, yeah, here it is. Here’s what you said, I think maybe about five years ago in an interview. You said, in response to the prompt, “Tell us something that you’ve learned about yourself from teaching.” You said, “This might sound weird, but I’ve learned that the more I let go, the less I try to manage/control, the better things go overall.” I want to jump up and cheer when I read that. I was said, it was a chapel talk, and I don’t remember exactly what I said, but I remember saying something like, I don’t know if I said, excellent teaching, whatever it was, but, “requires self-effacement on the part of the teacher, at least some self-effacement, contrary to what we might think.”

I mean, there’s the Sage on the stage model, of course, but it really takes letting go, sitting back and being comfortable with spontaneity, and being comfortable with the class moving in directions that you didn’t plan for it to move in, or expected to move in. So I just want to applaud that, and go ahead, if you have more to add to what I’m… I just think it’s really, really… it seems counter-intuitive right? No, to be an effective teacher, you need to be in charge. You need to be talking. You need to be control… No. No. The more you let go, the more they learn. And I think we learn as well.

That’s taken me a long time to get there. I used to come into class with typed notes and I felt I had to cover… Not anymore, thank God. It’s liberating for me, and I think it’s a better experience for the students. But how did you come upon that? I mean, just experimenting? I mean, how did you… I learned about it by reading another teacher who talked about it. That’s why I was excited to read you saying the same thing. But do you recall? I mean, when was that moment, if there was a moment, when, “Aha, if I say less, they learn more”?

Lisa Dembouski:

That’s a great question. I’m not sure I can identify a singular moment. I’m sure it was a long time coming, a lot of experience, and spending time with students. I’m pretty sure it was this slow dawning of realization, “Hey, this is going awesome, and I haven’t said three words. I got them started and then they’ve gone.” You know? And so-

Greg Kaster:

Right.

Lisa Dembouski:

… I think it was noticing that fact. And I also need to say, too, on top of it all, there is a great deal to be said for being yourself, being the human you are, right?

Greg Kaster:

Yes.

Lisa Dembouski:

And students will connect with that. They will know-

Greg Kaster:

That’s right.

Lisa Dembouski:

… if you’re not being genuine or authentic. And by the way, I don’t know any-

Greg Kaster:

So true.

Lisa Dembouski:

… other way to be. I need to be who I am. And not only that, you do need to be, I think, yourself, but to also make it very clear, that’s who you want in the room with you. So that it’s a safe and wonderful place for students to be themselves too. And how, you not only invited and encourage that, but you build ways to help make that feel true. So students believe you, when you say, “I want you to be you. I want you to say what’s on your mind. And I want us all to be willing listeners,” and all that kind of thing.

So there are lots of ways to cultivate that community and that sense amongst and between students, and so that’s another thing I think matters. But the authenticity and the transparency, I frequently tell students, “Here’s what I’m going to do. And here’s why.” And, because I’m working with teachers to be, then I’ve taken a third step and I say, “And, here’s why that matters from a pedagogical standpoint, and how you might want to do the same, when you are in front of your own students.” So there’s always these different layers of it, but I actually love that interchange.

Greg Kaster:

Yeah. All, I mean, I’m just thinking here, pearls of wisdom coming from you. It’s just so true about the students, too. They are incredible bullshit detectors, contrary to what some people think. They’re not easily hoodwinked, at least not in my experience. And if you aren’t yourself, it’s very clear to them. And the other thing, you said, noticing that it’s working and also, for me, and I know for you too, becoming comfortable with that.

I mean, first I wasn’t, feeling like, I’m not doing my job if I’m not directing or controlling, let’s say. But no, we aren’t doing our job, right? That’s exactly-

Lisa Dembouski:

Right.

Greg Kaster:

… what we should be doing is facilitating not controlling. I think there’s an important difference, a huge difference. So anyway, I just loved what I read.

The other thing that I could relate to is, you write or have talked about how you are, you’re outgoing and everything in the classroom, but you’re really an introvert. And I wonder, I mean, there’s a sort of, maybe it’s a cliche or a stereotype, teachers are introverted. Say a little bit more about that with regard to yourself and teachers, generally. I have some of that. I’ve gotten less shy in public over the years. I’m not sure why. I used to be very shy in public. But anyway, I mean, what is it about being comfortable in the classroom and outgoing, and then being an introvert in other settings?

Lisa Dembouski:

Well, it might depend on what your definition of introvert is. For me, what I mean when I use the term is, I recharge alone, I get back by spending time by myself, usually, in a beautiful place in nature or with my cat or something like that. And introverts tend to dislike small talk. I can’t stand small talk. I have no idea what to say. I feel super socially awkward, if I’m expected to use small talk. I have no idea. I don’t know anything about, like, say, the public, pop, whatever, something about sports. I can’t tell you any of that. I have no idea. So I don’t want to talk about it. And if you make me, I get really anxious.

So on the other hand, introverts love rich, deep, interpersonal conversations that have some guts to them, and some meaning. And yes, so we can get depleted of our energy stores, if we’re spending a lot of time, maybe with a lot of people. But one-on-one, or in small groups, or say the size of a classroom, that’s actually incredibly energizing and uplifting. And so I do think I qualify as an introvert, because I do like to recharge at home and alone, but I also get just as much, in fact, maybe more, from meaningful interactions with others.

Greg Kaster:

Yeah. Oh, wow. That’s really helpful to me, because, now, I’m thinking, yeah, I’m an introvert. I don’t recharge in nature. A little bit, I mean, I love taking walks, but I recharge, I guess, when I’m alone in a coffee shop. I just love it. And I’m not alone, I am alone and I’m not alone. It’s a funny thing. But I’m quiet, I don’t have to interact with people. And there’s music in the background, it’s where I do my best work. It’s where I grade, and I’ve met some other profs who to do the same thing. I just know that… I mean, I’ve run into a lot of people in life who are teachers, who will identify as, “I’m an introvert when I’m not in the classroom.” And we see that with some students too, right?

I don’t know, I’ve had students who are reluctant to speak up in class, no matter how much I encourage. And then I see them on stage at Gustavus in a play, I’m like, God, is this the same… I can’t believe this. I could never do or say what they’re doing. It’s just interesting.

I’m trying to… you remind me of this book, I have it, and I haven’t read it, is it The Quiet Mind, or it’s about being quiet.

Lisa Dembouski:

Yeah. Quiet, yep.

Greg Kaster:

Yes, Quiet, that’s what it’s called. Yeah, which I want to read. It comes highly… It sounds like you’re familiar with it. Yeah.

Lisa Dembouski:

Yep.

Greg Kaster:

Anyway, your teaching philosophy makes a lot of sense to me, and it’s what I aspire to as well. And the importance of listening, not just talking to or talking at. So what is it you find most challenging about teaching and rewarding?

I know, as I said before, we started recording, I still get nervous going in any classroom. I mean, I’m nervous, there’s no question about that. I might I hide it well, I hope I hide it well, but I’m nervous. And sometimes even, I’ll use the word, terrified. But what about you? Are other things that… I mean, I’m afraid something isn’t going to go right, or they won’t speak up, but all kinds of… what are some of the things you find most challenging and also most rewarding about teaching?

Lisa Dembouski:

Oh, that’s such a great question. Let me start with the rewards. The relationships that I build with others, both my students and my colleagues, are hands down, far and away, the most rewarding part of my work, the most gratifying. I feel like I do the most good in the world. I feel like I make a difference. And I feel like I get to live my values. The things that I care about are the things that I bring into the classroom, such as inclusion and equity and flipping scripts on the ways people think about things. And supporting new teachers out in their efforts with young people. So all of that, I mean, dang, I just, wow, they gave me a paycheck to do stuff, not only that I love, but that I am and that I care about and that I think matters. And so those-

Greg Kaster:

Yes.

Lisa Dembouski:

… for me are the richest rewards for the work that I do. And with whom I do it. By the way, I need to say that too, I love Gustavus, and I love Gusties. And, there’s something about people who want to be teachers and the way that their hearts are built, and the way that their minds work, and the ways that they care about others, makes them, I don’t know, in my mind, they’re super Gusties. And maybe every faculty member says that about students in their department. But I really feel that about the students in mine. They’re just these super-human, wonderful people who want to go and work with young people, and make a difference in their lives. And I think, I am lucky I know you, and I am lucky I get to work with you. And so it’s this feeling of gratitude and good fortune on top of everything else. So those are the rewards.

The challenges for me vary, but in large part have to do with policy, sort of like you alluded to this earlier. I didn’t want to go there. I still kind of don’t want to go there, but I will say this-

Greg Kaster:

Oh, please.

Lisa Dembouski:

… that a great deal of my work is dictated by external policymakers-

Greg Kaster:

Yes.

Lisa Dembouski:

… legislatures, people at the board of teaching, which actually they’re called the Professional Educator Standards and Licensing Board in the state of Minnesota. They determine a lot of what we do, because they’re the ones who say what teachers are supposed to know and be able to do before they go into classrooms. So they directly impact our work as teacher educators.

And I had no idea that it was going to be to that degree. I thought that teaching at a college level, I would have a little more freedom, but I really don’t, because of who I’m working with. And the fact that so many external people have a say over what happens in education. And so, if I could make my two cent plug, I would love to see that change. I would love to see-

Greg Kaster:

Yes.

Lisa Dembouski:

… education actually be in the hands of educators. And the people who make policy decisions, aren’t lawmakers or people who were elected officials who have no idea what education even is. I’d actually like to see our profession in the hands of the professionals. I’ll step down off my box, now.

Greg Kaster:

No, no… I could not agree more. I always say, I’m in awe. As I mentioned, my cousin I’m close to now lives in Chicago, but taught, it was a career as an ELED teacher in Elgin, Illinois. Anyway, I am in awe of you, people like you, and then your students who go to teach ELED and secondary ed, because of exactly what you said. I don’t think I could do it. All of the external obligations, pressures, checks on my creativity, would drive me absolutely insane. And it’s one of the great differences, I think, between certainly teaching at a private liberal arts college, like Gustavus, and teaching in a public high school. I mean, I don’t have to worry about all of that stuff. I don’t have to submit lesson plans.

I mean, there’s accountability, but there’s just so much more room for, I think, creativity, spontaneity. So I hear you. I agree. Boy, I don’t know that would, for me, be really, almost insurmountable. So I am a great admirer of people who experience that and managed to be incredible teachers at the same time.

And I’m lucky when I think back on my own, especially in my high school education, how lucky I was to have some of those teachers, who bent the rules or even sort of flouted them when they could and for good reason. But, yeah, that’s all well said. So heard and noted, and I think you should run for political office at some point, but that’s-

Lisa Dembouski:

Well, actually-

Greg Kaster:

… another podcast.

Lisa Dembouski:

I actually think that that’s part of my work too. And I tell all the Gusties, I tell our teacher candidates, “I’m counting on you to be the change that we need to see in the education world.

Greg Kaster:

Yes.

Lisa Dembouski:

I think we can change it from within, and I’m doing my part. I want to see y’all do your part too. Let’s make this profession be what we want it to be. And let’s make teaching and learning be what it could be.” Because right now I don’t think it is, it could be, but we’ve-

Greg Kaster:

No, I agree.

Lisa Dembouski:

… got all these barriers. We’ve got all these hoops we have to jump through. We can fix that, though. We can change that bit by bit. I believe.

Greg Kaster:

Yeah. We have to believe, we have to have hope, right? And work at it-

Lisa Dembouski:

Yeah.

Greg Kaster:

… constantly. I’ve said this so many… Teaching is sacred work, I think. I mean, it’s a cliche, but it’s true, sacred in the broadest sense. And at its best, it’s all about just, as you say, it’s about building relationships and caring and loving the work, and loving the students you’re working with. And it’s very powerful. I mean, it’s a really, really powerful experience to teach at any level, I think, but especially at the ELED and secondary ed levels, where you’re so close to the student’s day in and day out.

This has been a real pleasure and I hate to stop, but we are coming toward the end. And as we do, I want to ask you a little bit about the Global Educators program, you did the J-Term, I mentioned in the intro in St Martins. Talk to us a little bit about that program, and what’s special about it, in the context of your department at Gustavus.

Lisa Dembouski:

Wonderful. I’m glad I get the chance to give a plug. I love Global Educators, even though I think the word is a little confusing. It doesn’t readily say what it is. Global Educators is the opportunity for teacher candidates to work away. And I will say abroad, because some of the destinations that we travel to are overseas, but also within the United States, and, yet, not local, like not in Minnesota. So it gives teacher candidates a chance to work in schools and classrooms in a variety of settings, both abroad and nationally, and, yet, far from Minnesota.

So for example, we send teacher candidates to work in schools in Spain, in Arizona, in Alaska. We have also in sites in development, but the pandemic slowed that down quite suddenly, pulled the brakes, but we’re also developing sites on Molokai Hawaii, in Sweden-

Greg Kaster:

Oh wow.

Lisa Dembouski:

… and there’s a new one that we’re talking about that might happen in the Dominican Republic. So those are just some of the places where student teachers can go for a part of their student teaching semester. In addition to doing the student teaching work, they also get to experience doing that in another place. And so that’s one facet of Global Educators.

A second is, like you mentioned, the J-Term course, where we’re going to try to run that, again, pandemic willing, we’re going to run that in odd years, we hope. And that’s a month long gig, where the Gusties work in classrooms on the island of St Martin. They work sort of like classroom aides or depending on their level of training, for example, if they’re majors, you don’t have to be a major to take this J-Term course, but if you are a major and you’ve had some training in education and pedagogy, you might get to do more than classroom aide work.

But, basically, you spend time in schools with kids during the day. And then during the afternoons, evenings, weekends, you get to explore the island. I mean, yay, and an in January. So I don’t know, where do you want to be in January? You want to be in Minnesota? Or do you want to be on a Caribbean island?

Greg Kaster:

Yeah, I know where I want to be. I’m going to say, I mean, the Global Educators program and that January term experience, those are reasons enough for any prospective students listening to apply to Gustavus, and become an ED major. It just sounds like a great program that fits with your own interest and commitment to study away, the college’s commitment. So, yeah, I found that really interesting and exciting.

I know you like Thai food, and I hope someday we can, again, pandemic willing, sit down together at a good Thai restaurant somewhere. I know they are in Minnesota. There’s some in the Twin Cities, for sure. That would be fun, and have one of those conversations you… it won’t be small talk, conversations you-

Lisa Dembouski:

Great.

Greg Kaster:

… enjoy and relish, as I do as well. So, yeah, this has just been such a pleasure. I’ve learned so much about you, and it’s been inspiring to me, too, as a teacher. It makes me feel like, yeah, maybe what I’m doing is okay. It’s okay to let go. So I appreciate your taking the time to chat. Good luck. You’re coming back off sabbatical. I hope that that reentry goes well. What were you working on during your sabbatical, by the way? Was it the travel log or-

Lisa Dembouski:

Right. I was working on the travel log and trip guide. It is currently on the desk of an editor at the University of Minnesota Press. I don’t know if they’re going to go for it-

Greg Kaster:

Oh, exciting.

Lisa Dembouski:

… or not, but I really hope so. So feel free to send-

Greg Kaster:

Oh, fingers crossed.

Lisa Dembouski:

… all your positive juju. Yeah. And it was a joy to write that. I’m looking forward to getting it out into the world, because it was so much fun to write.

Greg Kaster:

Well, we’ll look forward to reading it. Yeah, it sounds cool. I’ve never done kayaking. I’ve done canoeing and capsized there. Someday you can give me kayaking lessons too. It always looks like fun.

And that’s the other thing I like about you, and then so many of our colleagues, we’re not one dimensional. I mean, you’re an academic, but you also do non-academic writing, for a general audience. And that’s all too, right? I mean, it’s all part of teaching. So best of luck with-

Lisa Dembouski:

Right.

Greg Kaster:

… that and best of luck with the re-entry. And I’m going to be on campus too, so we’ll see one another. I guess, we’ll be wearing masks for the time being, but we can at least see one another in person.

So Lisa, thanks so much. It’s really been fun. Take good care.

Lisa Dembouski:

It’s been a pleasure. Thank you for having me.

Greg Kaster:

My pleasure, bye-bye.

Learning for Life @ Gustavus is produced by JJ Akin and Matthew Dobosenski of the Gustavus Office of Marketing, Gustavus graduate Will Clark, class of ’20, who also provides technical expertise to the podcast, and me. The views expressed in this podcast are not necessarily those of Gustavus Adolphus College.

 

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Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication JJ Akin
jakin@gustavus.edu
507-933-7510

 

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