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A Piece of My Mind
May 8, 2002

Body English

Author Affiliations

A Piece of My Mind Section Editor: Roxanne K. Young, Associate Editor.

JAMA. 2002;287(18):2331-2332. doi:10.1001/jama.287.18.2331

When my wife and I attend social functions, introductions usually start with our careers. Yes, we say, we're both doctors. She's the physician, and I'm not. I'm a PhD, a professor at a local liberal arts college.

What do I teach? English.

In fact, I've been teaching English for as many years as my students have been in school, and I've found that people's idea of an English professor is invariably the same. When I admit to my profession, the conversation stops. "Well," say my new acquaintances, "we'd better watch our grammar around you!" They always move on, and I'm left alone at the hors d'oeuvres table.

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