About Me

The Japanese character, or “kanji,” to the left represents the word “sensei,” which means teacher.  In 2009, I attended a 3-week Japan Studies summer institute, which included introductory language lessons. Our Japanese teacher, Linda Fujikawa, teaches Japanese with deep reverence for etymologies. According to Fujikawa Sensei, the word “sensei” literally means “been there, done that.” That surprising root overturns the assumption that a professor is an expert or superior. A sensei is simply someone with experience, somebody who understands what it feels like to be a student: to be curious and excited about an unfolding new field of inquiry, to be overwhelmed by complexities, to stumble awkwardly as you grope for new skills and understanding. Trying to learn Japanese reminded me what it feels like to be a student: it was exciting, overwhelming, and awkward. I’ve been there and done that. I’m a teacher.

Here’s my professional bio, the one you’ll find on my Davidson College faculty page. I’m a professor of English at Davidson, and I’ve been teaching there for 21 years. I can remember exactly how many years only because I landed the job at the same time I found out I was pregnant with twins. Luke and Thomas are now seniors in college, and their brother, Zac, is in 11th grade. My husband, Matt, is a a partner in a Charlotte law firm that has a lot of English majors and opera singers turned lawyers, which makes for a wonderful and sometimes quirky corporate culture. We live in an old house near the center of town, known to locals as Dr. Wood’s office. College students used to be able to get a physical for $6, and Dr. Wood’s kindness and cough medicine were legendary. I like to think he’s the reason why our house has good karma. But I know that it also has to do with our neighborhood, which has a strict policy of well-used front porches, open doors, and free-range kids. Kids roam from house to house, while adults hang out together on the front porches and ignore them. We also have fenced-in back yards for the dogs, who used to play there before the mosquitoes took over.

 

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