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 everyone I see.

Being a professor means being a teacher.

There is no such thing as teaching without research, and no such thing as research without teaching. 

We often hear that research and teaching are separate. In universities, professors are required to report on the time we devote to each area separately. I do not understand this distinction. Professors are supposed to profess, which means teach. We are not supposed to deliver content, we are supposed to share discoveries and help others learn how to learn so they can pursue their interests. Its a collaborative practice dedicated to all the learners who came before, all of us together today, and all those who will come after we are gone.

During my career, I have designed and taught dozens of courses. I am fortunate because I get to teach graduate and undergraduate students in small studio classes, seminars, and large lecture courses. I love them all. 

Two experiences in teaching make me sad.

Each year when classes start, I walk through the bookstore. I love the new books laid out for all the courses. As I walk through the store, I always feel intense pain thinking about all the classes I will never take. I wish I could take them all.

At the end of the year, I obsess over how I might have done a better job. It does not matter how well a class goes, I always lose sleep over the student I failed to reach, or the idea I could have better served. Before classes finish, I begin working to redesign courses hoping to find a way to be better next time.

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