Thoughts on culture, education, and having been a Canadian in the US
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Posts from — June 2006


Wow, it’s been an insanely busy couple of weeks. I’ve been wrapping up teaching my online course on Michael Ondaatje, Margaret Atwood, and Jacques Poulin, getting settled in as the new Director of Canadian Studies (as of July 1), and prepping for teaching starting next week for the National Writing Project Summer Institute here at UVM. On top of all that, I managed to squeeze in teaching a one-day writing workshop and a three day holiday with Mona!

The online class has been great, though not surprisingly given everything that’s going on I fell behind by a couple of days. The students have been excellent, though, as I usually find to be the case with online teaching. As usual, I wind up at the end of an online course wondering if I should be teaching all of my classes online, rather than the reverse. For the next month or so, I’ll also be facilitating a course for UVM faculty on Teaching Effectively Online. It helps to be doing that right after finishing an online course myself.

The writing workshop in St. Albans was invigorating, too. I taught to a group of students ranging from incoming high school freshmen (given that we don’t use those terms in Canada, I still find them bizarre) to recently graduated seniors. The school, Bellows Free Academy, is a really interesting one. I met with Don Tinney’s Canadian Lit class a couple of times earlier this year and was thoroughly impressed with the people there. I gave the students some challenging reading this time: a chapter of Culler’s Literary Theory: A Very Short Introduction and the first few chapters of Poulin’s Volkswagen Blues. This is material I usually cover when I teach English 086: Critical Approaches to Literature. The group did great work with the material and really impressed me. Some of them could have easily fit right in with my sophomore 086 students at UVM.

It’s been a busy summer! But an interesting one and, while I sometimes dream of just getting a little bored once in a while, it’s hard to complain about getting a chance to do for a living some of the things you love to do.

June 29, 2006   No Comments

A brief note about the great Edmonton Oilers

In many ways, Tuesday was a hard day to be an Oilers fan. After watching in awe for the entire playoffs as the Oilers overcame everything from the Detroit Red Wings and the flu to the loss in the first game of the final series of Dwayne Roloson, the goaltender who played an enormous role in getting the Oilers to the finals, it’s almost unfathomable to think that they weren’t able to pull off a victory in the end. In other ways, though, it’s a great day to be an Oilers fan. Like anyone who has seen them play this season and especially during the playoffs, it’s hard not to be incredibly proud of all they achieved. I can’t recall the last time I’ve watched every game of a series from the first round to the last in the Stanley Cup playoffs. And, it was all GREAT hockey! Wish I could be in Edmonton this week for the rally for the team at City Hall.

My sister has some fine thoughts on all this as well on her fab blog.

So, anyone ready for next year yet? How long until training camp?

June 21, 2006   No Comments

Go Oilers! Another Saturday of Hockey Night in Canada is on the way!

Wow, what a game last night! Carolina was dangerous throughout, but the Oilers outplayed them, and really deserved the overtime win. Great to see things finally going their way for a change. As an Oiler fan, you just have to be so proud of how these guys have played. They deserve to be in the Stanley Cup and, after winning the last two out of three, I think they know now that they can really pull this off. It’s hard to dislike Carolina, either, though. They’ve played well and deserve to be there, too. While the crowd in Edmonton has been amazing, making headlines in the playoffs with how the entire arena spontaneously took over the singing duties of the national anthem, I have to say that I was pretty touched to hear O Canada sung so well by the crowd in Raleigh last night. I mean, I’m sure a good portion of the crowd there has some Canadian connection, but it was stirring nonetheless. It all would have made a pretty special final game of the series last night, but man am I stoked to see Edmonton taking the series back to Edmonton on Saturday! GO OILERS!

June 15, 2006   Comments Off on Go Oilers! Another Saturday of Hockey Night in Canada is on the way!

Exit, pursued by a…

June 11, 2006   2 Comments

Late night blogging while watching SNL

I have only one thing to say: Laser Cats!

June 4, 2006   No Comments

Is it June already?!

May was a crazy month, but I’m hoping June will be a bit more straightforward.

Here’s what’s on the agenda for this month:

  • the last three weeks of my online class on Ondaatje, Atwood, and Jacques Poulin
  • Making the transition to my new role as the Director of Canadian Studies here at UVM
  • Radiohead concert in Montreal!
  • Making some serious headway on the book project, which should have been done long ago…
  • 6 morning advising sessions for incoming first-year students running from 8-12 each day, which will be good prep for the fall when I’m scheduled to teach an 8 AM class. The last time I taught an 8 AM class was at Mt. Royal College, and the 8 AM part is not one of my fondest memories of my time there…. (Otherwise, it was great! Really!)
  • Prepping for my role as one of the leaders of the National Writing Project’s Summer Institute here at UVM, which runs for four days a week for almost all of July. Part of my preparation involves trying to convince myself that I know something about the theory and practice of teaching writing! Hmmmmm….

June 3, 2006   No Comments