Professor with students October 5, 2016

Why We Teach


We’re at that time of the academic year when the daily details begin to pile up. Teach a class, grade assignments, schedule advisees, and prep for tomorrow. It may not feel like a grind just yet, but it does require lots of focused energy, which makes this a perfect time for a quick reflection on why we teach. For some, teaching is just a job; it’s a paycheck necessity. But for readers of a blog on teaching and learning, I’m pretty sure we’re in it for something more than the bucks, which tend to be pretty modest anyway.

professor with small group of students May 11, 2016

How Teaching is Like Composting


I started composting at our summer place in 2009, and now I’m a convert. In the summer, we live on an island that’s mostly rock covered with something the locals call “organic matter.” Growing anything this far north on this soil base is challenging, but compost has made a big difference. My bleeding hearts, campanulas, delphinium, phlox, and coral bells are far more impressive than they used to be.

December 14, 2010

Teachers as Guides: A New Appreciation for an Old Metaphor


Still finishing up? I remember one semester when I was doing my final grading in my office on a Saturday morning. It was very close to Christmas. I finally finished, submitted the grades, and exuberantly headed home with Christmas music on the radio far louder than it should have been. It was such a relief to finally be finished. At a stop light, I was singing with the radio and thinking about making Christmas cookies. The light changed and I zoomed forward, failing to notice the car in front of me had not zoomed forward. I did not exuberantly drive the rest of the way home.