Aeron Haynie became a mother the year after she received tenure at the University of Wisconsin at Green Bay (and exactly one day after she turned 40). Formerly chair of English, she is now on sabbatical and relishes each day.
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February 24, 2011
Everything you’re hearing about us is true. Our state workers’ rights to collectively bargain are being threatened, our governor was easily punked by a left-wing journalist, and our mass protests have been genuinely civil. In short, Wisconsin is an interesting place to be right now.
February 10, 2011
I was struck by Neil Genzlinger's purposely-provocative dismissal of recent memoirs in the NYT book review: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/30/books/review/Genzlinger-t.html?pagewanted=all In it, he savages three out of four recent memoirs, claiming that "this flood just has to be stopped."
January 26, 2011
We've all heard the saying, "If you want something done, ask a busy person to do it." Well, last fall was the most overwhelming semester I’ve experienced in many years. I took on a new administrative position, and while the previous director had done an admirable job preparing me, I still experienced a steep learning curve as I negotiated the tasks of running our campus’s teaching center.
January 12, 2011
Last week Inside Higher Ed published an anonymous piece by someone who has decided to leave academia entitled, "Because."
December 16, 2010
The end of the semester is such a hectic time – students write essays and then immediately rush to their holidays, while faculty grade, grade, grade in a Herculean effort to finish before Christmas. Nowhere is there time for quiet reflection on the semester. But as I finish my senior students’ essays (which are quite good, in fact!), I wonder exactly what my students will remember from this course in a year, five years, ten years?
December 2, 2010
Last night, after a long day at work, I collapsed on the couch with my husband and six-year old daughter to watch A Christmas Carol. It was our daughter’s first time watching it and she was a bit scared by the ghosts, especially the mute and shadowy figure of Christmas future. Her face was a picture of childish delight at the end when Scrooge dances, giddy with happiness on Christmas morning, the ghosts gone and the day bright and full of possibilities for change. Family members are still willing to forgive and Tiny Tim is still capable of being saved.
November 11, 2010
It's time to order the books for my spring courses. Because I teach Victorian novels, I'm continually trying to negotiate length; how many pages can I coax my students to read a week (or rather from Thursday to Tuesday, and then from Tuesday to Thursday). This causes me to engage in one of my disingenuous teaching practices: searching for the shortest edition of David Copperfield, or Middlemarch. Yes, I realize that all unabridged versions are really the same number of total words. But tell that to students asked to read 250 pages instead of 150.
October 27, 2010
This year our college selected a common theme, "Leadership,” and as part of that theme we assigned all our freshmen seminar students to read Soul of a Citizen by Paul Loeb. Since my freshman seminar is “The Culture of Food,” we discussed parent groups advocating school lunch reform, the early food coops, food pantries, and animal rights groups. Many of my students are horrified by the treatment of animals in slaughterhouses that Schlosser documents in Fast Food Nation.
September 29, 2010
I just finished teaching Daniel Defoe's 1722 novel, Moll Flanders, about a heroine who “Was Twelve Year a Whore, Five Times a Wife [Whereof Once To Her Own Brother], Twelve Year a Thief, Eight Year a Transported Felon In Virginia, At Last Grew Rich, Liv'd Honest, and Died a Penitent." The novel's frank depiction of criminality shocked 18th century readers, but my students are most appalled by the fact that Moll gives up her many children: the first, to her in-laws, and others to a paid surrogate family. We discuss the lack of sentimental language used to describe these separations.
September 16, 2010
My six-year-old daughter likes to dance around the living room with a pink Barbie microphone pretending to be Sharpay from High School Musical. She leaps from one couch to another, gesturing wildly and imitating the teenage girls she watches in movies and videos. When she catches me looking at her from the other room, she imperiously orders me to leave; these personas are her private creations. I love her physical confidence, her swagger, and her joy in singing.