The number of students I’ve taught in my composition, creative writing, journalism, feature writing, mythology, and speech classes since 1992 could literally fill a stadium. Since being a rock star isn’t in my DNA, I’ve carved out a rewarding career teaching college students about the joys of the written word.

I tell my students that it “curls up my toes” to see them get intrigued, mystified, and excited by authors such as James Baldwin, James Brown, Kiana Davenport, Jhumpa Lahiri, and many other writers whose unique perspectives often connect with my students’ in surprising ways: culturally, intellectually, and psychologically. When we study brilliant authors together, students are often amazed that these writers’ longings, fears, and victories often connect in some ways to their own.

Whether they’re writing source papers, short stories, poems, speeches, or feature articles, I encourage my students to approach their assignments as a creative endeavor where they challenge themselves and share their deepest thoughts in ways they don’t usually do on a daily basis. Their abilities and insights shine when they feel they’re in a safe, supportive class–free to make and revise errors, explore ideas about personal, cultural and societal topics, and share work with their peers and professor. I hope their excitement and skills follow them into future classes and, of course, their careers.

H. S. Brett has taught at the following university and colleges:

Hofstra University

Marymount Manhattan College

SUNY Farmingdale State College

Suffolk County Community College

Five Towns College

Kingsborough Community College

Queensborough Community College

York College

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