It’s been almost 18 months since my last post. Hard to believe. Life just didn’t get in the way of my writing; life opened up an immense sinkhole, and I was unlucky enough to fall into it.
I teach writing. I completed graduate school so that I could teach writing. The problem is that I have a Master’s in Education, focused on college teaching and English. I started that degree because I knew I wanted to work with college writers, and my only other option in Bozeman, Montana in 1993 was to drive over 200 miles (one way) a couple days each week to complete a Master’s in literature. I like reading good books–don’t get me wrong–but I wanted to teach writing to college students, and my options in my hometown served me better for many reasons.
Sadly, times changed. My institution’s accrediting agency, the Higher Learning Commission, now asked that I have a Master’s in English (literature or composition) or at least 18 graduate credit hours in the field that I teach. Upon reviewing my transcripts, my college administration decided that I needed 18 graduate credit hours of English: Not even the internship that I completed working with freshman composition students co-enrolled in a developmental reading course was considered “a course in writing pedagogy” simply because it had a EDLD course code and not and ENGL one. My college held firm, and I was off learning how to be a writing teacher yet again.
And so, I’ve been taking online courses, such as “Advanced Argumentative Writing,” when I’ve taught my college’s argumentative writing course for 17 years. Heck, I even led the course for eight of those years. My plans of enrolling in Michigan State’s mineralogy course this year evaporated. My dreams of the Ph.D. in Earth Science have been deferred.
Then, this summer came foot surgery to repair an injury that never healed correctly. When I couldn’t walk or drive, I spent a great deal of time looking out over the Tollgate Wetlands, located across the street from my house. I watched deer and foxes and herons and muskrats and wondered why I had never thought to closely observe my own backyard. In short, I became mildly obsessed how nature has adapted to us in this Anthropocene Epoch.
Now, that I am once again mobile but still faced with taking courses like “Teaching College Writing” rather than physics and chemistry, I have decided to fill my field notebook and blog with observations of my immediate world and how “nature” creeps into the city of Lansing, Michigan.
I refuse to let the sinkhole swallow me.
I’m happy you’re at our college. Keep up the good work!