What is your favorite lesson to cover and why?
My favorite lessons to cover are: 1) the Harlem Renaissance for freshmen, as this was my main focus in graduate school; 2) the Enlightenment for juniors, as I minored in Philosophy as an undergrad; and 3) the concept of sociological privilege and its effects on the shaping of the literary canon with seniors, as I believe it is an important aspect in academia that needs to be explored.
How do you see & instill a passion for social justice in your students?
I try to instill social justice into my lessons wherever possible and applicable. I believe that literature teaches critical thinking and cognitive skills, as well as empathy, and can be used to teach history as well. Seeing as social justice in the present is dependent on an honest representation of our past and an empathetic connection to those who have been oppressed, literature is a tool that can make students better thinkers and better people.
What do you hope students take from your classes?
More than anything, I want my students to be critical thinkers. Instead of passively accepting what is placed in front of them, I want my students to learn to question within reason and formulate their own well-reasoned opinions.
What is your favorite project to assign?
My favorite is The Matrix
vs Paradise Lost
essay that I assign my juniors. It stretches the limits of my students’ thinking and challenges them to make connections between literature of the past and stories of the present. It also teaches them the far-reaching effects of writing and literature. Everything builds upon what was created in the past, even the most original movies and ideas.
What does “Women of Great Heart & Right Conscience” mean to you?
It means a woman who does what is right, even if it isn’t always popular.
What is your favorite spot on campus?
My favorite spot on campus is my classroom. It’s cozy and I like that my kids know to find me there and will sometimes come in and chat with me because they’re comfortable there too.
What has been your proudest professional accomplishment?
I love receiving emails from my students telling me what an impact I have had on their lives. It is what fulfills me most about being a teacher.
What is a must-read book that you recommend to all of your students?
Too many to list, but the first book I ever fell in love with was SE Hinton’s The Outsiders. The second was Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man, the third was East of Eden by John Steinbeck and finally Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison.