• Teaching

    A Portrait of the Teacher by a Young Student

    A student from my underground literature class wrote an article about her experience with my teaching method.  I had been helping the student develop her writing skills so that she could perform well on the GREs as her dream is to go to graduate school on edge of the prairie in Garrison Keillor Country — a place I had fond memories of from a journey I took in a former life.  What follows is an article she wrote about my class for a Minneapolis/St. Paul based e-zine called China Insight. In the article, she recalls the first day I introduced myself to the class.  Her perspective can be compared with…

  • Traveling

    A Journey to Hengshan Mountain

    We took the midnight express back to Chenzhou from Hengshan late Saturday night.  This meant getting dirty.  I once spent four years as a grunt.  Digging foxholes and wading through marshes was dirty work too.  I look back at this previous incarnation with nostalgia as I board a crowded train in which tickets were sold beyond seating capacity for people to stand or sit in the aisles.  The windows were sealed shut.  There was the sound of people hawking up snotty yellow mucous.  Chewed up sunflower seeds and cigarette butts scattered upon the floor.  Old men with rotten, nicotine stained teeth smoked in the thresholds between cars.  They came back…

  • Podcasts

    Lit Week 1: Why Read?

    Through various readings, I find out how familiar students are with Western literature. One poem about the Congo River by Vachel Lindsay, an American, intrigues them. They ask if it is really a “rap” song…

  • Podcasts

    My First Week in China

    Arriving only a week ago in China with my ESL certification, and with only one day before classes begin at Xiangnan University, I was informed I will be teaching Literature to juniors and Drama to seniors!