Training Material

When I think back on my first year as a university professor, I feel like sending an apology note to each student I taught. Or, rather, failed to teach. When I entered the classroom fresh from my dissertation research, I had deep insight into the inner workings of literature and culture but zero understanding of how to communicate those insights to other people. Especially undergraduates who had little interest in the fiction, poetry, and drama on the syllabus for English 101.

To make matters worse, as someone who’d always been a super-keen student, I couldn’t relate to my students’ lack of enthusiasm for the course of study I’d laid out. How could it be possible for someone to read Shakespeare or Faulkner and remain ...

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