Crossing Over

The Website of Author Marina Budhos

Category: Teaching

New Year

Yesterday, I ushered my two boys to their teachers at the same school—one to kindergarten, the other to 5th grade–an event that will happen only once in their lives, given their age difference. A wonderful convergence in their lives. And for me, too, since it is also my send off.

Six years ago, six months pregnant, I left my life as a freelancer and part time creative writing teacher and began my university job. Everything suddenly sped up: I had a second car, a second child on the way, and a second contracted young adult novel, along with a nonfiction book and adult novel already underway. Thus began the busiest, most crammed, overloaded six years of my life. There were classes to teach, seminars to attend, essays and chapters and reports to write, trips to make, stroller and Leggo in tow, and of course, those nagging flyers to take out of the backpacks, baseball games to watch, birthday parties to shuttle to. So it seems appropriate, at the very exact moment when the almost-six year old is waved off, I can take a breather. Continue reading

Immigration: The Generational Gap

Today there’s an interesting article in the New York Times about the generation gap over immigration.  Those who are younger are less forgiving of the tough Arizona law, while those who are older favor such draconian measures.  This is attributed to the fact that young people today are growing up in a far more diverse and multicultural world, whereas their parents–many of them aging baby boomers–were shaped by a more segregated, ‘white’ world.

This accords with what I’ve seen and noticed both among my students and living in the suburbs.  The suburbs may ‘look’ the same–the sweet little orange buses rolling through leafy streets; the baseball and soccer games filling the green parks every weekend–but they have fundamentally changed.  Children of different backgrounds and races are tipping their hat visors as they take the pitcher mound or ringing your doorbell to sell Girl Scout cookies.  Even the most insular of suburbs have begun to give way to ethnic and racial demographics that look like what the cities suspiciously used to look like. Continue reading

Visits

On Saturday, Rita Williams-Garcia and Neesha Meminger joined me for a panel on YA at the WPU Spring Writers Conference. On Monday, Neesha returned to my Asian American class, along with Kavitha Rajagopolan, author of Muslims of Metropolis, to discuss the Asian American experience in a post 9/11 world. Neesha has blogged about it on her blog, along with a picture of the three ladies in black: http://www.neeshameminger.com/blog.php.

Notes on Teaching Nonfiction in an English Literature Class

This essay, by Rob Nixon in the Chronicle of Higher Education, prompted a few thoughts on my own interest in teaching nonfiction in literature courses.  http://chronicle.com/article/Literature-for-Real/64453/.

I happen to enjoy mixing it up with nonfiction in my literature courses.  My two favorite courses, which are part of our Asian Studies Program, are Asian American Literature and Modern Indian Literature.  Because I am teaching students largely unseasoned in the actual experiences of Asian Americans or with only a vague understanding of the history of India, nonfiction and documentary materials become a vital spine to these courses.  And geeky history minor that I was in college, I just can’t resist injecting historical context into my literature courses—theory, post modernism be damned. Continue reading

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