When I was a sophomore at Wheaton, I took a class on literary and critical theory, aptly named “Approaches to Literature,” with Paula Krebs. Toward the end of the course, after having attempted to master reader response, deconstruction and postcolonial criticism as lenses though which to read a book, Professor Krebs made the comment that learning how to apply these theories was “an arduous pleasure.” This notion—one that has always resonated with me—has now woven itself inextricably into my educational creed.
Since graduating with the Class of 2005 as an English literature major, I have gone on to teach seventh-grade English in an inner-city school; teach at the high school level in independent boarding schools; and lead outdoor education trips for disadvantaged youths. I have learned myriad lessons and gained insights from all of my experiences, and have appreciated all of them for what they were—opportunities for intellectual and personal growth, not as a means to an end. [Read more...]