Thoughts on culture, education, and having been a Canadian in the US
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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.