I began teaching English at Francis Lewis High School in NYC. There I was as much a student as a teacher, learning from each class how to hone my teaching. I left FLHS to pursue my doctorate in Renaissance litertature at Lehigh University. In 2010, I completed my dissertation. Later that summer, my wife, who is a KS native, and I moved to Olathe and then Lawrence. Since then, I have been teaching English composition and literarture at both JCCC and KCKCC.
I believe that studying literature can open up new perspectives for our world today. Authors as diverse as Chaucer, Shakespeare, Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte, W.E.B Dubois, or Walt Whitman still contribute to issues that are shaping our modern reality. My first book looks back to the poerty of seventeenth-century England to see the relevance this literature has for environmentalism today.
When it comes to teaching writing, my guiding goal is helping student to understand that their writing has value. As a composition teacher, I am constantly experimenting with new writing projects that are social in nature, that demonstrate writing is communal. This is where Wikipedia comes into my courses. While educators are gradually accepting Wikipedia, most overlook the potential value the third most visited site on the Internet has to for student writing. To look at Wikipedia as simple reference, comparable to a traditional encyclopedia, misrecognizes its potential as a scene of writing, a place where students can contribute their voice to one of, if not the, most powerful source of information on the planet!
So why do I teach? I teach because every class presents a new challenge. I have read Hamlet once a year since I was 18, but still every time I teach the play, my students help me discover a new way of interpreting Shakespeare's words. Each student brings a unique persective as a reader to my courses, and I hope they leave class with more confidence to explore the complexities of a piece of literature. Overall, as professor, my goal is for students to understand literature not as dead but rather living texts that have new meaning every time we read them.