Pictured above: The author, Sara Puotinen, with her two kids in March, 2015.
I’m Sara Puotinen/Undisciplined. I used to be an academic. Ten years of graduate school, then six years of teaching at a university. Now, since the beginning of 2012, I’m not. In addition to running, open water swimming, adjusting to losing my central vision, and enjoying life in South Minneapolis with my family, I’m experimenting with ways to craft a life beside (next to, but not in) and besides (in addition to) the academy. These experiments involve a lot of learning new things, like how to code and design my virtual spaces, and a lot of exploring how to use things I’ve already learned, like two decades of training in feminist/critical/ethical/queer theories and pedagogies, in new ways.
Record One: The Unofficial Transcripts
My accounts/transcripts of my thinking, feeling, writing and troublemaking life as a student began on my trouble blog, back in 2011. Then, after fully leaving the academy in January 2012, I collected and expanded these accounts, shaping them into an iBook, Unofficial Student Transcripts, that I published in the spring of 2013.
After publishing the ebook, I posted excerpts of the unofficial accounts on my main site, Undisciplined, but I always hoped I’d find a better way to archive them online. Now, having learned more about how to code (html and css) and how to tweak WordPress themes, I’m creating a better virtual space for the story of my life from student to ex-academic here.
Record Two: A Troubling Teaching Portfolio
Starting in November of 2015, I decided to return to my academic archive and intellectual history to reflect on my teaching life. The result: a teaching portfolio that uses trouble as a lens through which to examine my teaching experiences and aims to get and stay in trouble by questioning and challenging what gets valued as “good” teaching. As of October 2016, I have about two-thirds of it done.
In May 2014, my undergraduate advisor invited me back to my alma mater to give a talk based on Unofficial Student Transcripts. It was fun and scary and rewarding to construct and deliver that talk. You can read it here.
In April of 2016, I gave a talk about A Troubling Teaching Portfolio at Minnesota State University, Moorhead. You can read it here.