In a couple of aboriginal languages the word for "teacher" is the same as the word for "learner." While most societies prefer to keep these two roles very separate from each other, I like to keep this miracle of language in mind as I develop instruction. My instructional goal is to carry out the responsibilities of "teacher" by facilitating learning. I think this practice has good results. Students tell me that my classes help them better understand their audiences, give them a critical eye, and expose them to new ideas and skills that they never knew existed.
Like most English teachers, I suppose, I love to read and always have. I most enjoy texts that reveal a world that I'm not almost -- but not quite -- a part of in real life. Right now I'm reading Roddy Doyle’s Barrytown Trilogy, which are sort of historical fictions with some magical realism thrown in for good measure. The narrator has a totally skewed sense of himself, and, while heartbreaking at times, the books make me laugh whenever I pick them up. These books, like most of Doyle’s fiction, are set in Ireland, which I travel to regularly. When I'm there I usually read whatever tops the book lists. I'll also read just about anything that was published in the 19th century, is written by bell hooks, or claims to revolutionize the way we teach and learn.