Teacher, Teacher

Many of us at Avidly are lucky enough to find ourselves, pretty often, in front of rooms of students. What has happened in your classroom that’s surprised you by its effectiveness or lack thereof? Write here if: you’ve found an obscure short story, a piece of criticism or theory, or a Beyoncé video that’s opened your students’ minds or helped them open yours.

Disrupting the Higher Education Content Cycle

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3
February 19, 2014
Disrupting the Higher Education Content Cycle

Nicholas Kristof spent the weekend reviving the old canard that academics have removed themselves from the public sphere through obscure prose and interests. Among the problems we might identify in Kristof’s essay—there are, obviously, many—is the irony of a writer with the resources of the New York Times supporting him chiding the rest of...
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We Talkin’ ‘Bout Genre

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5
January 22, 2014
We Talkin’ ‘Bout Genre

Richard Sherman talked smack after a football game and the internet exploded. Of course, because it is the internet, the conversation has mostly been about 1) whether or not Sherman was right or wrong to say what he said and 2) the extent to which his race, class, and biography (son of a garbage...
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Dispatch from Paternity Leave: Outside Expectations

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6
November 5, 2013
Dispatch from Paternity Leave: Outside Expectations

Just before my current paternity leave began, I found the following line in the acknowledgements page of an academic book by a fellow male scholar: “I am grateful to X University for funding my parental leave that, in the midst of turbulent life changes, allowed me to complete the revisions to this book.”  It...
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The Growth of A Year

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4
June 11, 2013
The Growth of A Year

I troop forth replenish’d with supreme power, one of an average unending procession, Inland and sea-coast we go, and pass all boundary lines, Our swift ordinances on their way over the whole earth, The blossoms we wear in our hats the growth of thousands of years.   Eleves, I salute you! come forward! Continue...
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Why The Kids (And I) Still Love Gatsby

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5
May 9, 2013
Gatsby Yellow

One of my former colleagues used to say that all high school students love The Great Gatsby, although he claimed that most of them love it for “the wrong reasons.”  He’s right about the love. F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel elicits more passionately positive reactions from a wider variety of adolescent readers than any other...
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“Clueless” and the Father of Little Women

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6
April 30, 2013
“Clueless” and the Father of Little Women

Does Clueless make an argument about the ideals of American education? As if! Amy Heckerling’s 1995 Clueless tells the story of 15-year-old Cher Horowitz and her misadventures. Loosely based on Jane Austen’s Emma, the film substitutes Beverly Hills for Yorkshire, high school classes for the class-based vitriol of high society, and the presumptuous naiveté of an indulged American teen...
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A Small Act of Resistance

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1
March 19, 2013
A Small Act of Resistance

I love the genre of the academic essay and monograph.  Add that to the list of forms to which I also profess love: sonata, theme and variations, short fiction, sestina, recipe.  There is unmistakable pleasure in seeing the components of academic writing come together.  And don’t get me started on the prose.  There are...
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Love in the Ruins: or, Should I Go To Grad School?

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18
November 13, 2012
Love in the Ruins: or, Should I Go To Grad School?

On a late-spring day sometime in the mid-90s, I found myself sitting with a friend on a stone bench overlooking a prospect of conventional, but nevertheless pretty estimable, pastoral loveliness: green valley and distant hills, cinematic cloudscapes, placid lake, etc. The friend with whom I sat was just then at the collapsing end of...
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Millennials Phone Home

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5
September 4, 2012
Millennials Phone Home

Ah, Millennials. I’m constantly reading about how you are so different from my  own Generation X. We hated our parents. You are best friends with yours! We hate working in groups. You love teamwork! At your age, we were ironic and disillusioned about our futures. You are overly optimistic! You think you can change...
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To T.P. Roche: Or, To the Lighthouse

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9
July 26, 2012
To T.P. Roche: Or, To the Lighthouse

This is a story I haven’t told before, but my reasons for not telling have changed a few times over the years. At first, I didn’t think it was significant. Then, a few years later when I realized it was, it seemed a bit too late. After that it felt vaguely embarrassing, and then...
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