For starters, what differentiates me from most other (if not all) bloggers for HSLDA is that I am not a homeschooling mom, or a mom at all—unless you count my four fur babies. I am the proud mother of two dogs, one lab-boxer mix and one we-have-no-idea-what-she-is mix, Mulder and River, respectively, as well as two cats, Loki (the orange one) and Scully (the gray one).
And, although I am not a homeschooling mom, I am a homeschool graduate—the second oldest of six kids, three of which are still being homeschooled. I am currently a PhD student in English at Idaho State University in Pocatello, Idaho. I received both my B.A. and M.A in English from George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, as well as a Graduate Certificate in Folklore Studies. My research interests include folklore and mythology, literature of the fantastic, comics, and children’s literature—basically, the geekier, the better. I also have a strong interest in disability studies, and I am hoping to do a post-doc fellowship (many years from now) in that subject in particular.
When I am not teaching or being a student, I enjoy writing (naturally), reading graphic novels, watching scary movies, hiking, yoga, traveling (especially to literary sites), music of all kinds (playing and listening), and cooking vegetarian concoctions that I force on my poor husband.
I married my husband, Michael Farris Jr. (yes, the very same Farris of HSLDA fame) in 2012. We lived in Northern Virginia for the first few years of our marriage, and we just recently moved to Pocatello in the fall of 2015 so that I could begin my studies. Although I have a wide-range of teaching experience (pre-school to college; private, public, and Montessori; online and face-to-face), I realized my passion, teaching college students, when I became a Teaching Assistant during my M.A. program. Consequently, I was inspired to pursue my PhD with the goal of one day becoming a tenured college professor.
Currently, while I am pursuing my own studies, I teach English Composition, Critical Reading and Writing, as well as an Introduction to Folklore class at Idaho State University. In addition to teaching, I have experience bookselling, serving as prose editor for a literary magazine, and writing book reviews for various scholarly journals. In case it wasn’t obvious already, reading and writing and sharing those loves with students are my passions, and this is what inspired me to start blogging for HSLDA. I am constantly reading, reviewing, and sharing my knowledge of what I and others consider to be significant literary works.
Most English majors (as well as teachers) tend to rely heavily on the classics—those tried and true books that regularly appear on syllabi. However, I am strongly in favor of contemporary literature. While I do have a deep love and appreciation for classics, I think that it’s a shame that so much of today’s great literature is overlooked—particularly in the classroom. Thereby, in my blog posts, I hope to share my insight into important works in the contemporary literary scene. I will offer recommendations for all ages, from early readers to adults, as well as in various genres. I will also be offering teaching tips for how to incorporate these books into your curriculum or extra-curricular reading assignments.
Too many of my college students enter into my classroom thinking that reading is not interesting to them—primarily because they have not been introduced to anything that is relevant or of interest to them! Not all students will appreciate Virginia Woolf or Charles Dickens, so it’s our job (as educators) to introduce them to other forms of literature that can be equally as valuable. Through these blog posts, it is my hope that you will join me on this mission to spread the news that contemporary literature does have something to offer to readers and non-readers, to students, and to ourselves!
Photo Credit: All photos by Anelise Farris.