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Attendance issues

Unlike some other colleges at which I teach, Queens College does not penalize students for failing to attend classes. Students seem to be unaware of this policy. I always begin classes by taking attendance, but little do they know, I use roll call as a mnemonic aid; my classes meet once a week, and with […]

Resources for teachers of writing-intensive courses

For those of you teaching writing-intensive (W) courses: every so often Writing at Queens holds workshops for instructors and professors. I recently joined one led by Karina Attar, which will meet six times this semester. Topics include: designing a W syllabus; developing a course vocabulary; scaffolding assignments; introducing students to theory and criticism; integrating grammar […]

Adjuncting while dissertating

This is the last semester I will be adjuncting while working on a dissertation. By April, hopefully, I will have defended. Which leads me to wonder: what impact will dissertation completion have on my teaching? Has being an ABD hindered or helped my performance?

Being immersed in such an arduous project has taught me a […]


Though the prospect of a free mini Ipad is enough of an incentive for me to continue blogging, I have discovered that I really enjoy it. In this post I want to reflect on why that is: what is it about blogging that makes it more fun and dynamic than other types of writing? For […]

Negotiating boundaries

I had a student in one of my classes, let’s call him Y, who would walk with me to the bus stop after class every week. Every semester I have students that do this, and usually I find it taxing. When I’m “off duty,” I want to unwind and not have to make small talk […]

writing about world literature

As writing teachers we tend to underestimate how our assignments limit or enable our students’ ability to write effectively. Ideally, I’d like students to move beyond the standard academic paper structured around a thesis, to use writing to explore their ideas on a topic and make unexpected connections….. But as other adjunct bloggers have noted, […]

Why compare?

The spring semester has officially started. I decide to try something new in my “Global Literature II” courses. As a first day exercise, I have students think about why comparative literature is valuable as a discipline. What’s the use of making connections between all these books written in different times and places? Why not just […]