I hold a Masters in English: Rhetoric & Composition from Penn State, and have nine years combined teaching and tutoring experience.
- M.A. in English from Penn State, specializing in Rhetoric and Composition
- M.A. in Religious Studies, from the University of Chicago
- B.A. in Classical Studies (Greek, Latin, classical history and literature) from the University of Houston (Summa Cum Laude)
- Mercer County Community College: Adjunct Professor, 1 year
- Santa Barbara City College: Adjunct Professor, 2 years
- Penn State: Grad student TA, 2 years
- University of Houston Writing Center: Tutor, 4 years
One of the great ironies of my career is that I never had to take Freshman Comp. I got to test out of it and struggle through the Honors College great books course on my own, and take a nerve-wracking five months to figure out that although I had been taught how to write a five-paragraph essay, I had no idea how to write an argument. It was enough to make me wish I had taken the first-year writing class; a little help at the right time could have saved me weeks of agony.
I have now taught six different models of Freshman Composition. Approaches differ, requirements differ, methods differ, and one thing you have to be able to do when you teach Freshman Comp is adapt. But there are things every student everywhere needs to learn, and what I was trained to teach is rhetoric: how to argue a point, and support it with reasons and evidence; how to adjust your approach to the audience and the situation; and how to use language, formatting, and visual aids to be clearer and more persuasive. As a teacher, I believe in treating students like human beings; holding them to standards that are high but achievable; customizing my class as much as possible to the group I have; and giving as much individual attention as I possibly can.
Here you can find links to materials I’ve put up elsewhere or performed in person.
Clarifying Technical Writing: the slides for a five-minute talk at OSCON 2012
Here’s a video of the talk as I gave it at YAPC Europe 2010.