On Life

Thoughts on Teaching & The Spring Semester

Thurgood Marshall
Thurgood Marshall

None of us got where we are solely by pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps. We got here because somebody—a parent, a teacher an Ivy League crony or a few nuns—bent down and helped us pick up our boots. ~ Thurgood Marshall

This year’s winter break has been a short one. I’m still getting my ducks in order and readying myself for the spring semester. It never feels daunting to me, but rather like a breath of fresh air…spring air.

Even though it’s January and we won’t see the likes of flowers blooming and making it feel spring-like anytime soon, last year is over, and we’re in a state of rebirth. That’s how I look at each semester: a time to start new and fresh.

I’m particularly excited about teaching the Magazine Writing class; I’ve added two new articles to my repertoire for students to read. One article is by Gene Weingarten entitled The Peekaboo Paradox, a profile article about a clown and his entertainment in Washington, D.C. The other is a brilliant—and I mean brilliant—piece written by the late David Foster Wallace for Gourmet magazine entitled Consider the Lobster, which revolves around the Maine Lobster Festival, but is more of a think-piece, as it asks some pretty thought-provoking questions about the ethics of eating animals. I’m pretty certain my students will enjoy reading both of these articles.

I’m also thrilled to be teaching The Advertising Campaign. It’s one of my favorites. Using the book Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind, the students and I discuss ad campaigns, create ad agencies, and then they pitch their own advertising campaign at the end of the semester.

Finally, I’ll be teaching Public Relations Writing, which I’ve taught now for years. However, with the help of a new textbook, and a new introductory class that is required now before you take the PR Writing course, students will be gaining a broader understanding of public relations and will learn to write all the pieces necessary to put into a press kit.

It’s a new beginning…and it all starts Monday.

HappyBirthdayP.S. I would like to wish my mother a very Happy Birthday! Like a fine wine, she gets better with age.

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