Teaching in focus: Carellin Brooks
Learn more about the work of our educators at UBC
13 March, 2023
Faculty / Department / Unit:
Year I started working at UBC:
What first motivated you to become an educator?
I was inspired by great English teachers in high school and by my university professors. But my kids say it's because I like to tell people what to do.
Tell us more about your work.
I teach first-year academic writing and second-year communications in Forestry, specifically in the Department of Wood Science. My courses are required and hence not universally beloved by those who take them.
What inspired your particular approach to teaching?
I don't like to be bored, and I hate it when I bore my students, so I try and bring whatever creativity I can muster to the classroom. My own writing – I've published five books of poetry, creative nonfiction, fiction, and scholarly work – is a wellspring, and along with my colleagues, I hope to inspire students to use creative approaches in their own scholarly work.
What have you learned while teaching that has surprised you the most?
I was surprised initially by how physical teaching is. We think of it as a cerebral activity but it is also an embodied practice for everyone in the classroom. I continue to be surprised by how things go wrong in new ways. You design an activity and there is some wrinkle. You say to yourself, "I'll fix that for next time." Next time there is a completely new, unforeseen wrinkle. It changes every single time.
What impact do you hope to have on your students?
I hope they will learn that their voices matter. We need to hear from more people, not fewer. I would love it if they discover how to express themselves authentically through their work as apprentice academic researchers. I like it when students bring their personalities into their work and I am always trying to design assignments to encourage this. I hope that I can help students approach all the work they do creatively.
Are there any colleagues or mentors you’d like to acknowledge and why?
I'd like to acknowledge Dr. Lindsay Cuff, Assistant Professor of Teaching in Land and Food Systems and Forestry, who is the lead instructor on our first-year scholarly writing and argumentation course, FRST 150. She is a great mentor and source of inspiration in bringing creative approaches to the writing classroom. There is a group of us teaching this course and our meetings are some of the most fun we have on campus, even on Zoom.
- Our people
- Teaching and Learning
- Teaching in focus