Neil FitzPatrick recently graduated from the MFA Fiction Program at CSU and was hired to teach College Composition (CO150) this coming fall. We are excited to have him!
What are you most excited about for teaching at CSU?
I’m just excited about being in the classroom again. I’m feeling a bit rusty from the off-season, so to speak. Plus I taught beginning creative writing last semester (as a graduate student), and I’m looking forward to applying some of the techniques I developed in that class to the CO150 curriculum.
What do you like most about teaching in general?
There are few greater feelings than watching a student or group of students become engaged with a subject and learn/improve over time. I love the feeling of reading a student paper and being surprised or challenged by something that’s on the page. And of course I’d be lying if I said I didn’t like the captive audience aspect, the ability to point to something that’s made me think or that I’m excited about and say, “Look! This is great!” or, “This is important!”
“I love the feeling of reading a student paper and being surprised or challenged by something that’s on the page.”
How would you describe your teaching style, your philosophy?
I won’t presume to be able to answer this question yet, especially not in a few sentences. I do believe that students need to be challenged. There’s no quicker way to alienate a classroom than to condescend.
When you’re not working or teaching what do you like to do?
Teaching takes up a lot of time. This will be my first time teaching four sections of CO150, and I’m not optimistic about the amount of free time I’ll have. Some of the time I do have will hopefully be spent writing and reading. I’ve been building up a daily habit this summer. Other than that I’ll be hanging out with friends, cooking with my girlfriend, running, watching too much television/going to movies. I moved here from New York three years ago and discovered pretty quickly that I’m not much for the mountains. I’m working on it.
What are you doing with your summer before you start teaching?
I spent a month this summer taking advantage of a Brooklyn office space that I had as part of A Public Space‘s Emerging Writer Fellowship. I sublet a room in Fort Greene and wrote (or read/researched/submitted/tried to avoid Facebook) for a few hours every day at a desk in the magazine’s offices. I’m trying to finish the collection I started for my MFA thesis. The last couple weeks I spent traveling in the Northeast visiting family and friends. I got back to Colorado yesterday/am looking forward to spending the month writing and prepping for the semester. This rain is bumming me out.
What is something most people at CSU do not know about you?
I think a lot of people know this by now, but I have a twin brother. He’s getting his biology PhD at Columbia. Don’t believe anything he tells you about me.