Every course I teach is designed around one goal: that my students will leave the semester more inquisitive, eloquent, and capable of growing as writers on their own, long after our class is over. This means not only stoking the creative spark in each student, but also sharpening their critical minds, rendering them more knowledgeable and (hopefully) more interested in literature than when they entered. To that end, the pedagogical style I’ve developed is interdisciplinary and energetic. It relies on a balance of preparation and flexibility, and seeks to guide students as self-actualized participants in the larger community of writers and critics.
It seems to me that to write is always to balance a multiplicity of pressures – public, private, and ever-shifting. The only way to proceed is to consistently re-evaluate one’s own relationship to the world, to the self, and to language in general. I believe the teaching of writing and literature work like this as well. Our role as teachers is not to train students to write a flawless paper or great poem (as though there was a teachable way to do these things). Instead, it is to encourage and engage, to instruct and inspire, to contextualize, critique, and counsel; that is, to usher students into the conversation and hope they will continue with it once we are gone.
Courses have included multi-genre Creative Writing Workshops, as well as workshops specific to poetry and nonfiction. (Note: I have also taught both poetry and nonfiction workshops at the BoldFACE Writers Conference, which serves primarily post-baccalaureate / pre-MFA students.)
Courses include Poetry and Poetics, Intro to Drama, The Modern Novel, Intro to Literary Criticism, Dante’s Commedia, and the Beat Movement.
Courses include Composition I and II, and have been geared for honor students, international/ESL students, Entry Level Writing Requirement-unsatisfied students, and others.
Courses include Humanities inquiries such as “A History of Cool,” “The Year 1968,” and “Gender and Genesis,” as well as upper-division mentorship courses for transfer students (such as the MER-180 course at UCSC).