I’ve never thought of myself as a techy person. Sure, I grew up tinkering with computers from around 8 or 9 years old, when my dad brought home an old PC from the now-defunct AT&T Universal Card, which they sold while upgrading. I learned the basics of DOS, and how to install extra RAM, and I know my way around most versions of Windows.

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Photo by bert sz on Unsplash

But when it came to teaching, I was strictly old-school my first few years. Smartphones were just becoming widely available around the time I started teaching. Although I’d been using the internet for years, I had…


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Image by Ben Kerckx from Pixabay

Back in my mid-20s when I was trying online dating, I met a man for dinner. Attractive, personable, smart, and interesting, he was one of only a three-fingered man’s handful who ever made me nervous in a good way. I enjoyed his company, but very quickly decided he wasn’t the one for me.

Ten minutes into our first date, he asked if I’d ever been in love. I told the truth — once, at fifteen . He scoffed, declaring that was too young to know what love is.

Then he told me about how at twenty-two, he fell for a…


I remember worrying my first day in the classroom about whether I was going to be able to teach anyone anything at all. I worried whether I was teaching the right things and whether students would leave my classes prepared.

It’s strange, looking back, that I never considered how teaching might change me. Often, as professionals preoccupied with learning objectives and educational outcomes, our focus is outward, on the impact we should have on other people, yet the impact our students have on us is just as lasting.

Here are four surprising things teaching taught me.

1. Small talk isn’t as complicated, or unimportant, as y̶o̶u̶ introverts think.

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Photo by Christiann Koepke on Unsplash

I have been shy…


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Image from Pixabay

Most of the students in my graduate school cohort were psyched to become professors. Every one of them was gung-ho to shoot through a Ph.D. program and change the lives of students who would hang on their words the way that we hung on our professors’ words (when we weren’t hungry, hung-over, sleep-deprived, or just disinterested, of course).

But the reality of being in the classroom as a teacher is really different from what you might imagine it’s like when you’re one of the students. …


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Image by Thông Nguyễn from Pixabay

Nine months after finishing my master’s degree, I found myself struggling with a quarter-life crisis. I didn’t know where I was supposed to be in life. Most of the people I knew from high school had children, and those who weren’t married (or divorced) were getting married (or divorced). I knew people who were real adults-the kind of people who owned a house with a yard and had started planning for retirement.

And me? I had a master’s degree, more cats than is probably normal, and one year into what was supposed to be my career, I was looking for…

Brittany Howard

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