New Faculty 2015-16: Michael O’Mara Shimek

Michael O´Mara Shimek-2

Welcome to the BU WP, Mike! How are you finding the move from Spain?

Being in Boston is wonderful. It is such a vibrant place with so many textures. The move with the whole family feels like it is still going on, actually: new schools for the children, new language, neighborhood, and friends. We moved from Valencia, Spain, and there are a lot of things that change when you cross “the puddle,” as they say in Spanish. For example, in Valencia, you could walk wherever you needed to go because everything was so close by. Our children’s school was just three houses down the street! We miss all the fresh produce that you could find at the Central Market, and it’s taking some getting used to having to have to use the car so much. I find myself having to have to ask a lot of questions about trash days, oil heating, and health care.

Can you share an interesting story from one of your classes or engagements with our colleagues?

Last semester, I had a student who studied music. We had talked on and off about the kinds of music he likes to play and what instruments. One day, out of the blue, he brought a beautiful Taylor acoustic guitar to class. I think it’s great when students feel comfortable enough to bring their lives into writing and writing class in such illustrative ways that help students from so many different backgrounds appreciate some of the things that give their lives meaning.  

As a first-year instructor what has been most helpful to know?

For me, at least, more than anything specific to my first year experience, I’ve found it useful to keep close at hand the lessons I’ve learned in teaching over the years that help me to stay flexible and adjust to new circumstances.

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