Troy grew up in Byram, Mississippi. As a child he enjoyed playing pretend outdoors and playing videogames indoors. By the time that he was supposed to be deciding an occupation, he didn’t have any good ideas. After studying music and English at college he considered becoming a teacher. He subbed for a while, teaching every grade from kindergarten to high school. He then decided to teach on the university level, and spent years and years working toward that. For his doctoral studies he moved to England. He then moved back to the States and got a position at East Texas Baptist University. He enjoys spending time with his beautiful wife and two adoring children.
As an undergraduate at Mississippi College, I learned to love thinking about reading and writing. I loved reading and writing before that, but I hadn’t considered pressing beyond surface thoughts. My music and English professors showed me that passion can be expressed and experienced intellectually.
Mississippi College was where I first thought about becoming a teacher, and so my first self-reflexive thoughts on teaching were shaped there. Without realizing it, I had determined that I would teach in a similar environment: a religious university, with smaller classes and involved teachers. When I visited the ETBU campus I found my ideal environment, along with the warmest English faculty that I had ever met.
I teach and grade according to four principles: focus, depth, clarity, and freshness. Focus requires that you make choices about your ideas, including choosing a focal point that unites them. Depth requires that you ask good questions. Clarity requires that you appreciate words and their relationships with ideas. Freshness requires that you imbue your writing with life.
Developing these principles requires deliberate thinking at several points over an extended period of time. So my students must be willing to work hard and to work consistently.
I’ve learned from observing my colleagues strengths. I might feel satisfied in my teaching, for instance, but when I observe a colleague’s teaching, or talk about a colleague’s ideas on teaching, I am reminded that I can improve in so many ways, both as a teacher and as a person.
I’ve enjoyed so many of my students’ ideas during my time at ETBU. I’ve read many papers that have changed the way that I think. But I’ve learned that I can enjoy my students’ ideas even when the papers have problems. Therefore, I try not to ever dismiss a paper; I keep looking for its good parts. Then I can tell the student that I want more of the good.
My teaching examples regularly come from the teachings of Jesus. For instance, I usually teach paradox by referring to Luke 17:23: “Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it.” Immediately, this statement doesn’t make sense, but Jesus is teaching from a paradoxical standpoint, forcing us to consider how the real always goes deeper than we realize. I hope to teach in the same way, asking my students to always dig deeper. And I want to show them that faith should help us to dig deeper.
Christ is the greatest teacher. He is my teacher, and I want to teach like him. I want to teach with paradox, with love, and with the purpose of glorifying God. And when I fail I can ask him to help me, and he will.
Assistant Professor of English, '13
School of Humanities
B.A. in Music and English, Mississippi College
M.A. in English, University of Mississippi
Ph.D. in English and Comparative Literary Studies, Warwick University
Areas of expertise:
Baring-Gould Appreciation Society, Conference of College Teachers of English
“Catholicism and the Circus in The Queen of Love” in Transactions of the Sabine Baring-Gould Appreciation Society