Monthly Archives: September 2021

Amy Sawford

Hello colleagues,

This is an incredibly delayed introduction. So sorry! My name is Amy Sawford. I have been teaching at CityTech since 2017 and this semester, I am teaching two asynchronous sections of Comp 1.

I didn’t grow up loving to read. I loved books, having them, touching them (and smelling them), but I wasn’t a reader. I’d spend hours in a library, but I wasn’t reading. I wasn’t very studious either, but that’s a story for another time. I have ALWAYS loved books, but I didn’t love reading until I was in college. Maybe it was a professor’s influence, maybe it was boredom, I don’t really know…but I began to read often. These days, I rely on audiobooks to keep up.  Writing, on the other hand, was something I loved for as long as I can remember. I have stacks of poems and comics I created a long time ago aging in a box somewhere. I wrote a novel for a high school project when I was sixteen. I loved writing. I wasn’t very good at it, but I did it anyway. I’m still not very good at it, but I’m always writing.

I have been teaching in higher ed since 2012. This year, I have entered the realm of public schools and I teach a high school during the day and keep up with my asynchronous college courses in the evenings. I think my teaching style is laid back and my patience is an ally in the classroom.

I have recently relocated to my hometown in South Florida after spending 12 years in Brooklyn. I miss many things about NYC, but I am also happy to be near family. I have a two-year-old daughter and a three-year-old Boston Terrier. When I am not working, I spend time with my family and play video games with my husband.

For Weds, Sept 29

Hi everyone! Great meeting you all today.

For next week’s meeting, we will be discussing “Navigating Genre” by Kerry Dirk. You can find it on our Perusall site. Please read and annotate before we meet.  Please also finish reading and annotating the Ellen Carillo piece from Bad Ideas about Writing, also on

We will meet next Weds, Sept 29, using the same Zoom link as before.

Please note: if you haven’t done so yet, you can still do the asynchronous work for the first week of our PD (outlined HERE) .

Also, I’ve moved our schedule for the semester under the “Course Materials” heading.  You can find it HERE


Shitty First Introduction (with apologies to Anne Lamott)

Hello Colleagues! I’ve delayed writing this post because I kept wanting to wait until I had time to write a really good and thoughtful introduction. But somehow I never found that time and now it’s Friday and I want to get this posted, so I’m going to take a page from Annie Lamott in “Shitty First Drafts” and start my participation in the PD seminar by just writing something, never mind making it perfect, in the few minutes I have between dinner and bedtime reading with my kids.

So my name is Denell. Weird name, I know–pronounced sort of like Janelle but it’s actually a combo of my maternal grandparents’ names, Daniel and Eleanor. My conscious perception of myself as a reader began when I was maybe four years old and my other grandmother Evelyn, a history professor turned children’s librarian, read The Hobbit out loud to me. I was blown away then by how reading (okay, being read to) expanded my world, how Tolkien’s words created a world whole in my mind. All these years later, reading can still blow my mind. Yesterday I reread James Baldwin’s “A Talk to Teachers” in preparation for class and was challenged anew by his urgent call for transformative teaching that disrupts the status quo, while also inspired by his eloquent description of a world that is “larger, more daring, more beautiful and more terrible” than anything anyone has ever said about it.

That lifelong love of reading led me to a Ph.D. in English and underlies my work in the writing classroom. I’m interested in exploring the connection between reading and writing, and in developing pedagogically-sound ways to emphasize reading in the writing classroom. I think that the turn away from literature in composition circles was a useful corrective but has sometimes been taken too far to mean not only avoiding a focus on literary analysis (which I agree is not appropriate in FYW courses), but also de-emphasizing reading assignments altogether. I’d like to see reading as an area of mutual interest among comp rhetoric scholars and literary specialists, rather than a line that divides English departments.

Multimodal composing is not my strength, but in an attempt to follow Carrie’s instructions I’m attaching a recent picture of myself (I’m the one with the straight brown hair) with my friend Emily and a dozen Wellfleet oysters.

Introduction: Megan Behrent

Hi all,

I have been teaching at City Tech since Fall 2014. Before that, I taught at Franklin D. Roosevelt High School in Brooklyn for 15 years. FDR H.S. is a 3000-4000 person comprehensive public high school that serves a large population of emergent bilinguals with students from 70 countries and 37 language groups. Most of our students attended CUNY schools after graduation, so the City Tech student body feels familiar to me. I also taught night classes at Touro College in East New York, and during my very early years as a graduate student, I taught in the writing program at Stony Brook University. My work as a teacher also led me into the world of teacher activism, as well as writing about issues related to teaching, pedagogy, and education policy.

As a reader and a writer, I have broad, interdisciplinary interests, in part due to my experience as a teacher and activist. In addition to writing about education and pedagogy, I write about literature and social movements and the intersection between race, gender, sexuality and class in twentieth and twenty-first century American literature. My current book project is an intellectual history of Audre Lorde and Adrienne Rich with a focus on their friendship and their political contributions and legacies. That they met as instructors in the SEEK Program at City College in the era of Open Admissions was part of the spark for the initial research that inspired the project.

Particularly important to me as a writer is the collaborative process of working with my writing group—a group of women from CUNY that began under the auspices of the Faculty Fellowship Publication Program (FFPP). We have been invited to share our experience in several venues and continue to work, write and learn together.

Pictured below are my teaching and editorial assistants: Ella and Meowie. They interrupt zoom events frequently, but are a model of collaboration despite serious differences in learning and communication styles.

Blog Post: Michael Neiman

Hello Everyone,

I have been teaching at NYC College of Technology since Fall 2015. I am a teacher, writer, artist, and activist. I have been a passionate educator ever since I first entered the classroom as a US Peace Corps volunteer in Malawi back in 2002. Back in Malawi, I was in a class that had no textbooks, no resources, no electricity and often it was over 110 degrees F. Kind of odd, today, when for the past four semesters all City Tech courses require internet, computers and online resources. Yet, with climate change, it is still incredibly hot!

I look forward to continue helping City Tech students gain the skills they need to succeed as students, as future innovators, and merely to learn the practical knowledge that reading and writing can benefit them, in the struggles that our economic and professional world require of them, to thrive.



Work for our first asynchronous class!

Hi everyone!  I just sent you an email about our scheduling. We’ll have it sorted soon, I promise, but I want to get us started, so this week, we’ll work asynchronously and in two weeks, we will meet on Zoom (we are off next week on Weds and Thurs due to Yom Kippur)

Before we get started, you will need to make sure you’ve signed up for this site (if you haven’t done so already) and that you’ve signed in to our “class” on I sent instructions via email.  Once you have done those things, please do the following:

By Friday, Sept 17:

  1. Write a blog post (not a comment but a stand-alone post) introducing yourself as a reader, writer, teacher and… a person!  Please include some type of visual, if possible. HERE is a video explaining how to write a blog post on Open Lab if you need help. Videos are extra-great, but not required. Please let us know what subjects you would like to cover in this seminar. Feel free to also add any questions or concerns you have about this PD or this semester there.
  2. Complete THIS EDPUZZLE.  Edpuzzle is a program that allows students to watch a video but asks them to answer questions as they go. This video outlines the theory and pedagogy behind the model courses. But please note! It is about 25 minutes long. With questions, this will take you about 40 minutes! IF YOU CLOSE THE WINDOW BEFORE YOU FINISH, YOU WILL LOSE YOUR WORK! I suggest you try to do this in one sitting, if possible.

( HERE is a link to the slideshow (without me talking!) But please do the Edpuzzle!) 

By Weds Sept 22 (in preparation for our Zoom meeting): 

  1. Read and annotate the reading “Teaching for Transfer” on our Perusall site.  Once you are signed in for the site (using the instructions from our email) it should be fairly self-explanatory. Instructions are on the assignment.
  2. Read over your peers’ introductions on this site and make a few comments!

Please email me at with any questions! If you leave them as emails or questions on this site I may not see them for a while.