I feel like I need to acknowledge these last few years in Northern Colorado, if only to fix the time period in my imperfect memory. I can easily remember making plans to move up here, after returning to Colorado from Gallup and Teach For America. I was working on a newspaper while making plans, and a story I wrote got a first page spot. I had been to Fort Collins a couple of times, looking for cheap places to live. A colleague knew of a place in Windsor, and hearing me complain about high rent, hooked me up with a phone number – that’s how I got a CHEAP place in a town 10 miles east of FoCO. I also remember being so excited to start graduate school, even though I had no idea where I would go or what I would do afterwards. After being accepted at CSU, I asked my advisor to arrange for me to hang with a couple of other graduate students in the English department. What a nerd! After attending one class as a visitor, a class covering Derrida and others way out on the orbit of philosophy and semiotic analysis, I was pretty sure I would not make it all the way to an MA. Once classes started in the fall, and I moved and started work at the National Park Service as a database editor, I scraped out one of the best grooves of my life.
Then, of course, teaching. Eight years, over 2,000 students, thousands of essays, hundreds of class sessions, and a conscious, working effort to improve teaching practices and skills – that’s what I want to remember. Not the drudgery of the numbers, but the challenge and reward of honing, trying and failing, and pushing myself to ultimately use ALL of my life and experiences to help me communicate as best as I could. This is probably an obscure, irrelevant process for most. For me, I can still remember what it felt like the last few years, when I had dumped a lot of the junk, abandoned the idea of controlling EVERYTHING in the classroom, and not knowing what was actually going to happen each day. A big shift in thinking came when, instead of focusing on what I was going to do each class session, I thought about what the STUDENTS were going to do.
This is all I left behind.