Enough with the gloom. Here are the things I love about my job.
- Colleagues. Being alone in my garret is well and good, but it is also nice to have stimulating and supportive conversations with like-minded folk. I am ensconced in the U. of Delaware English Dept., which is mainly peopled by PhDs in literature, but they have universally welcomed me and respected my work, bordering on the glib though it may be. I could not imagine a better group of people to work with.
- Concentrates the mind wonderfully. I had been a practicing writer and journalist for fifteen years or so when I started teaching, but the experience of teaching has led me to think about and approach the craft in all kinds of new ways. Designing and conducting each course is constantly changing and engaging challenge—as is thinking about the future of journalism and figuring out how to incorporate this into my classes. My teaching directly led to two books: The Sound on the Page: Style and Voice in Writing and The Art of Fact: A Historical Anthology of Literary Journalism, coedited with my great colleague (see number 1) Kevin Kerrane. Teaching has also forced me to develop a side to my personality that otherwise would have been all introverted all the time.
- Noontime basketball at the Carpenter Center. Had to give it up b/c of tendinitis three or four years ago, but while it lasted it was a great fifteen-year run.
- Cadillac benefits. It’s been all good–EXCEPT for when they contracted Ceridian to manage the health care FSA. Big mistake.
- Total Wine on Naamans Road on the way home from work.
- The Post House on Main Street in Newark DE is the best breakfast joint I have had the pleasure of patronizing.
- The single best thing about my job is the students: not so much when they are seated in the class (sometimes like bumps on logs) but seeing the progress they make in their college careers, and, maybe even more so, what they do afterwards. (You can read what some of our grads are doing here.) From Rob Wherry, who I met on my first day of teaching, through Devin Harner and Lauren Schulz and Nicole Sarrubbo and Jocelyn Terranova, all of whom are good friends, to last year’s grads like Laura Dattaro and Brian Anderson, they have been a great addition to my life.
- The staff. What a concept!–to have support from such great folks as Linda Russell, Wanda McCracken, Sharon Anderson, Donna West, and many others.
- The library. An incredible resource, very ably led by Susan Brynteson.
- Two words: summers off.