The fall semester started yesterday here at St. Olaf College, and I started teaching today. I will be teaching on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and the courses on each day are First Year Writing, African Literature and Muslim Women Writers.
As I always do on the first day of class, today I talked about myself, my teaching philosophy, and my courses, highlighting, in particular, my commitment to academic freedom, vexed as that concept is. I don't plunge into the course on the first day of class, mindful that it is rife with uncertainties. I want first to put the students and myself at ease.
It is pleasant to be on the threshold of another season of academic engagements: reading, exploring and discussing ideas, writing, challenging ourselves, and broadening our intellectual horizons. It is a privilege to be a teacher, entrusted with the mission of inspiring a new generation of critical thinkers and socially responsible citizens of the world.