I love teaching. Fall is my favourite season, and I still cannot sleep the night before the first day of classes. It is such an exciting time, filled with possibility and the promise of new ideas, new questions and the chance to meet new students. At the start of term, I say “Happy New Year,” to all the people I see in the halls. For me, the academic year is my calendar.
During my career, I have designed and taught dozens of courses, and continue to work to improve my teaching practice. Recently, I have been teaching courses in Drama, research methods, directing, acting, Canadian Drama, and performance technology. I am incredibly lucky because I get to teach graduate and undergraduate levels and in small studio classes, seminars, and large lecture courses. I love them all.
In the world, I work people often discuss research and teaching as if they were separate practices. There are ways in which this is true, but for me being a professor is a verb, not a noun, and the nature of being a professor means we act as integrators of research and teaching to serve ideas.
There are only two experiences in teaching that make me sad. Each year when classes start I walk through the bookstore. I love to see all the new books laid out for each of the courses. As I walk through the store I always feel this intense pain thinking about all the classes I will never get to take. I wish I could take them all.
Then, at the end of the year, just before classes are ending, I am always plagued by the ways I might have done a better job. It does not matter how well a class goes, I will always lose sleep over the student I could not reach, or the idea I feel I did not properly convey. Before the year is out I am already working on redesigning the course trying to find ways to be better next time.