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It was my first real teaching job. I was fresh out of grad school with an M.A. in English, when I landed a full-time tenured-track position teaching English at a little community college in Harrisburg, IL, about 6 hours downstate from Chicago. Harrisburg has a population of about 10,000 and a small-town vibe to match. I once ate in a restaurant there where I oohed and aaahed over the peanut butter pie, and the next day the same waitress hand-delivered a piece of that incredible pie right to my classroom door, compliments of the owners. I rented an apartment in an old fashioned two-story red brick schoolhouse that had been converted into roomy apartments. I loved the idea of living in an old school. Ironically, a couple of my students were renting the apartment below mine. Awkward, I know. The college itself was just a few-minutes ride from my school-house apartment, past cornfields … [continue reading...]