For those interested in reading the
condensed version of my profile, please scroll down to Educational Background and Courses Currently Teaching at the end of this page. Anyone else with time to spare (as in "have nothing better to do"), feel free to read this unabridged version.
I was born in Vietnam but grew up in South Central Orange County, otherwise known as Santa Ana, where I received fourteen years of public education and have obviously lived to tell about it. After high school I attended UCI to major in English and was probably one O. Chem class short of a minor in biology. I was misled to believe that any self-respecting Asian at UCI had to have some bio in his or her studies. I'm happy to have made it out of all the lectures in the Physical Science II building alive and to not have burnt any of my fingers to the bone with acid in the chemistry labs.
But my years at Irvine were truly marked, thankfully, by the literature and writing courses of some of the most memorable scholars and eccentric characters to have ever lectured on the Little Theater stage in their tweed jackets and suede macalisters. I owe almost everything I love about literature to the wonderful English professors at Irvine, namely, Professor Homer Obed Brown, for introducing me to Jane Austen and British Romanticism; and Professor Myron Simon, for instilling in me an appreciation for American literature.
As for my two years of graduate studies at UC Riverside, well, those two years exist in memory as a blurry dream. And I don't use the term dream
lightly to reflect my bad memory, but rather to state quite simply that instead of a masters degree, the university really should have awarded me with a pillow upon my graduation in 1996. If I mastered anything there after two years, it really was sleep. And Tetris. (Oh, I'm not supposed to make disparaging remarks about any college campus.) ahem . . .UCR is a fine, fine campus with that provides a wonderful learning opportunity-- for those who stay awake.
The same year that I received my MA from Riverside, I began a long-term substitute teaching position at Bolsa Grande, and I have been here ever since. I am now in my twentieth year of teaching, and I wouldn't trade what I do nine months of the school year for anything. Well, except for maybe a one-way ticket back to Lake Como. Or perhaps the Tesla in silver. Or possibly a dinner with Daniel Craig. Scratch that last one. I would trade anything
for a dinner with Daniel Craig.DISLIKES:
1. The use of the following expressions
- "LOL" (If you're present, then just laugh out loud; I can hear you. If you're not, LOL helps me visualize nothing and hear nothing. And I really doubt you're actually "laughing [your] ass[onance] off])
- "Anyways" (The word is anyWAY. And making it anywayZ does not make it correct, cool, or funny)
- "Think outside the box" (I prefer to think inside my head)
- "Share out" and "deprivatization" and "PLC" (and all education jargon)
- "Where are you at?" ("Where are you?" Period. Or in this case, question mark)
2. The following questions:
- "What can I do for extra credit?" (Nothing.)
- "How many pages should it be?" (As many pages as it takes.)
- "What's today's date?" (Who cares? It will have nothing to do with your grade.)
- "Do we have to give it a title?" (Yes, and it better not be "Essay")
- "Where are you at?"
3. Good writers who don't take journalism because they're afraid it will affect their GPA.
4. People who don't know the difference between a typo and bad grammar.
5. People who think grammar is unimportant.
6. Having to say goodbye to students after graduation
1. Books--not ebooks, not the kindle, not the nook--books
! Real books and everything about them from the hard cover to the musty smell to the texture of the paper between my fingers as I turn each page.
2. A well turned phrase. Nothing is more gorgeous that a line well written, well spoken, well delivered, or simply well thought out before given any breath.
3. Movies. Movies that make me laugh, cry, sigh, exult in the beauty of movie making and for a few hours transform my reality.
4. Students. Students who are concerned about learning, or at least improving, rather than simply obtaining the coveted A.
5. Each new year's group of students, especially the journalism ones.
6. Scrabble or online Literati. And now Words with Friends.But what I truly live for--
1. The twinkle in my father's eyes when he smiles
2. The weight of my daughter's head on my shoulder when she falls asleep
3. Chopin's Nocturne #2 in E flat
4. Woody Allen's next movie
5. David Sedaris's next book
To be edited, modified, and continued
B.A. in English: University of California, Irvine
M.A. in English: University of California, Riverside
Teaching Credential: Chapman UniversityCourses Currently Teaching:
AP English Language and Composition