Some thoughts on a term completed

My community college is on the quarter system, and we just finished the winter term. And I always finish a composition class with an essay exam. I went through some of the reasons a couple of years ago, but here’s the short version: I value reflection in writing, and I like to see my studentsContinue reading “Some thoughts on a term completed”

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”

AWP Day 2: We shouldn’t be here because we should be writing

I’m writing this before the big event today — Annie Proulx’s keynote address — because I have no idea what kind of time I’ll have to write it after. And there’s plenty to write about already. So far today I’ve hit three panels. The first was at 9 am and, miraculously, I made it thereContinue reading “AWP Day 2: We shouldn’t be here because we should be writing”

Where I’ll (probably) be at AWP in Seattle

Whenever I’m lucky enough to go to an academic conference, I always have my students assign me homework. I go because I love the intellectual and social exchanges — hearing so many brilliant panels and literary readings, meeting so many fellow writers and finding so many new publications, and drinking with old friends and colleagues:Continue reading “Where I’ll (probably) be at AWP in Seattle”

Reading from Hagridden at Chemeketa Writes

Yesterday, I had the tremendous privilege to participate in Chemeketa Writes, a program at Oregon’s Chemeketa Community College where writers speak to students about the craft of writing and read from their work. I was the first reader on the Yamhill campus in McMinnville, so it was a double honor for me! The poster forContinue reading “Reading from Hagridden at Chemeketa Writes”

There’s nothing but time here

This afternoon I heard the familiar knock and rattle of our mailbox and stepped onto the porch to collect the mail. We had a flier from The Container Store and a tightly bundled parcel of coffee beans from an old friend down in Austin. But what caught my attention was the quiet rain shower mistingContinue reading “There’s nothing but time here”

WEIRD teaching, WEIRD students*

This article in Pacific Standard, “We Aren’t the World,” by Ethan Watters, is absolutely fascinating. And I’m grateful for the way Watters boils down the VERY complicated science that Joe Henrich, Steven Heine, and Ara Norenzayan are engaged in, because their arguments are such powerful challenges to the foundations of cultural psychology that we peonsContinue reading “WEIRD teaching, WEIRD students*”

Teachers Pay Teachers: also known as “Robbing Peter, Paying Paul”

This past week, I read a fascinating article by Corinna Meier over at Best Colleges Online. It was well timed, as the two colleges where I work are engaged in next-year-planning discussion of all sorts of issues: pedagogy, organization, online education, new programs on offer.* So the business of teaching has been on the brain lately, andContinue reading “Teachers Pay Teachers: also known as “Robbing Peter, Paying Paul””