Battling the 8am Grind

Teaching at 8 o'clock in the morning makes me feel that my real calling is a very nerdy version of stand-up comedy. I'll do almost anything to keep my students awake. When Thoreau says that we lead lives of "quiet desperation," I believe I know exactly what he means at 8:10am twice a week because by … Continue reading Battling the 8am Grind

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Pros & Ants: An Exercise for 19C Lit

Teaching 19th-Century American Literature can be a challenge, especially at 8:10am. It's the time period that I am constantly immersed in for my own work, but for my students my class is often the first time they read a "feminist" text written before the 1960s. We easily get wrapped up in talking about a text … Continue reading Pros & Ants: An Exercise for 19C Lit

Teaching “Women, Gender & U.S. Literature”

When I was assigned "Women, Gender, and U.S. Literature," a 5-week summer course that meets 4 days a week for 2 hours, I stared at my bookshelf ready to put 75% of its contents on the syllabus, then I went to Twitter and asked for suggestions, and then I went to colleagues for help who … Continue reading Teaching “Women, Gender & U.S. Literature”

Walking Away from the Green Tunnel Still Singing to Bears

When I hit 500 miles last year I knew it'd be my last night on the trail if the next day was beautiful. I spotted a fox running through a blueberry patch on my way to camp, which I took as a sign it was time to leave -- one of my favorite passages of … Continue reading Walking Away from the Green Tunnel Still Singing to Bears

Hiking Like A Woman, Part II

Last year I wrote about several women who are tough as nails, hiking the Appalachian Trail through rain and pain (read Part I here). This year I'm blown away by how many women are on the trail, and how little sexism I've witnessed compared to last year's alpha male surplus. They're thru-hiking in every bubble and … Continue reading Hiking Like A Woman, Part II

Self-Reliance and Interdependence in the Woods

I'm 700 miles into the Appalachian Trail (you can catch up on the journey here, here and here), and this year I've found some truly wonderful friends that have helped me get through rain and pain. I came out here last year and this year solo, looking to discover my "self" at the outer limits of my abilities, and … Continue reading Self-Reliance and Interdependence in the Woods

Spring Sound Recording at Walden

In the first week of May, a Walden park ranger confirmed over the phone that the birds had arrived and there were leaves on the trees. Ready to collect my next sound recordings for The Walden Soundscape project as soon as spring arrived in New York City where I live, I had been asking the … Continue reading Spring Sound Recording at Walden

The Walden Soundscape in Winter

A Project in the Making The Walden Soundscape is a project funded by a Graduate Center Provost's Digital Innovation Grant. It's my effort to share the sounds at Walden Pond with any interested reader of Henry David Thoreau’s Walden in the form of an immersive website experience. I’m recording sounds at the pond in all four seasons, … Continue reading The Walden Soundscape in Winter

Replacing the Classroom Circle with Digital Pedagogy

Silence was the thing I used to fear most as an English teacher: the discussion falls flat, none of the students do the reading, or it's simply the 8am or after-lunch lull. My tools to combat silence have been formed over the years: spontaneous group work, an on-topic YouTube video, or rearranging desks into a … Continue reading Replacing the Classroom Circle with Digital Pedagogy

A Story for the Frustrated English Composition Student

This is a story for the frustrated College Writing student, the slow reader, the one who thinks she's bad at writing because she ever struggles and is discouraged. I grew up loving the arroz con pollo my au pair made for me in our tiny house in Miami, Florida. Irene, or "Ree-nee," as I called her, … Continue reading A Story for the Frustrated English Composition Student