Marilyn Preston is an Assistant Professor of Liberal Studies at Grand Valley State University. She earned a PhD in Human Development and Family Studies, and a minor in Gender Studies, from the University of Missouri in 2012. Her work explores narrative identity, queer and critical pedagogy, sexuality education, autoethnography, and the interplay between institutional and personal identity development. Her work has been published in the Journal of LGBT Youth, the American Journal of Sexuality Education, Sex Education, the Journal of Marriage and Family, Radical Teacher and Feminist Teacher.
This paper is based on an ongoing autoethnographic and narrative study exploring the experiences of noncustodial mothers. I will be using my work on this study to reflexively examine my relationship with teaching pedagogy. The main question driving this paper is “how does my own maternal identity shape my classroom pedagogy?” I work to embody a maternality in my classrooms that nurtures intellectual and individual growth and fosters a sense of belonging that allows space for student to engage in the deeply difficult work of social justice. Maternal pedagogies help to form that space. This paper will explore how and why my own identity and ideologies about motherhood are engaged in the classroom.