Erasing the grade

Today I found this article in my Facebook newsfeed: “Wellesley Initiates New Grading Policy for First-Year Students.” And it’s about damn time. The idea is to institute “shadow grades,” which means professors will provide traditional letter grades for those students who want to know, but it removes those grades from the institution itself, recording only pass/fail grades onContinue reading “Erasing the grade”

Joy Harjo at Pacific Northwest College of Art

Last night, Joy Harjo was at Pacific Northwest College of Art, where I teach literature and composition. She was giving the 2014 Edelman Lecture, though she said she dislikes the idea of a “lecture” and, in fact, drifted in and out of “lecture” mode, mixing in storytelling, poetry, advice on making art, and an original songContinue reading “Joy Harjo at Pacific Northwest College of Art”

Patrons, series 2: a lineage of writing and teaching

It has been simply ages since I last wrote about the spiritual and temporal guides to my career, my “Patrons of writing and teaching” series. It’s not for lack of content (in addition to this post, I have several others in my pocket for later), but I got quite sidetracked by the writing itself, whichContinue reading “Patrons, series 2: a lineage of writing and teaching”

An animated history of the English language

A friend of mine shared this video on Facebook earlier today, and it’s just so fantastically succinct and hilarious I had to post it here. It’s “The History of English in Ten Minutes”: My friend found it on a blog post at Milk And Cookies, but it’s pretty widely available. What’s particularly genius about thisContinue reading “An animated history of the English language”

A Writer’s Notebook: an essay about Mom

My mother is retiring from 36 years of teaching, and to honor her, my sister, my brother, and I threw her a surprise party while I was down visiting during my PCA/ACA conference. My sister and my mom’s good friend Debbie, also a teacher, also organized a scrapbook for people to leave memories of myContinue reading “A Writer’s Notebook: an essay about Mom”

Teaching, teaching, and more teaching

I have so much to say on these topics that I’m actually bursting (ew?), which is why I’m not going to write more about them just yet — too many things to say, not yet enough distance or coherence with which to say them all. But I’ve had teaching on a brain a lot latelyContinue reading “Teaching, teaching, and more teaching”

Doctor, doctor: a coda

If there was a weak spot in my number-crunching comparison of MDs and PhDs from last week, it was in the accounting of how many hours a typical academic PhD works in a week. I’m confident of the numbers I offered — an average of 60 hours a week — but those numbers were basedContinue reading “Doctor, doctor: a coda”

Why Experts Are Not the Best Teachers (via Worst Professor Ever)

I’m not entirely sure what to make of this. On the one hand, I take issue with the author’s assertion that “knowing something at the PhD level benefits very few of your fellow citizens.” And the final comment, about “amateurs” being “cheaper to hire,” really gets under my skin, because one of my personal missionsContinue reading “Why Experts Are Not the Best Teachers (via Worst Professor Ever)”

Reading and writing: a beginning, and no end in sight!

Just wanted to quickly share two blog posts, which by happy accident I happened to read almost back to back today. The first is from Odds ‘N Ends (aka Mary’s Little Blog), in which a mother recounts helping her son learn to read and write. More importantly, the post focuses on the first time herContinue reading “Reading and writing: a beginning, and no end in sight!”

Student revenge: assign a teacher homework!

This April, when I return to the States and visit my family in Texas, I also am going to attend the huge conference of the Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association, held this year in San Antonio. I’m reading fiction there, and I’m planning to reconnect with a bunch of scholars and colleagues I used toContinue reading “Student revenge: assign a teacher homework!”