Meet Your Professor:

B.J. Hollars, English

Meet Your Professor:

Story by Cori Picard, Staff Writer

Cori Picard: How did you find your way into teaching?
B.J. Hollars: Initially, I thought I wanted to teach high school. I did some student teaching and I spent some time at a high school level and I really enjoyed it, but I think what I was looking for was the freedom to have time to do my own work as well and college seemed like the perfect mix of being able to work with highly motivated students while working on my own craft.

CP: How did you end up in Eau Claire?
BH: Through an application I guess. I got really lucky and found my way to Eau Claire. Snow and all, it has been a real joy to be here. I love my students first and foremost and my colleagues as well, so when you work with good people, the place is sort of irrelevant.

CP: Where were you before this?
BH:  I studied at the University of Alabama four years prior to arriving here.

CP: What is your favorite part about teaching?
BH: It’s cliche but I love working with the students. I love watching where students start at the beginning of the term and seeing them work through tough, writerly decisions throughout the term until they turn in that final portfolio.

CP: If you weren’t a teacher, what would be your dream job?
BH: There was never a time when I didn’t want to teach. Even as a kid, for Christmas I asked for a fake keyboard. It was like this practice keyboard that you could practice typing on, and if I could be a full-time writer and not teach at all, I wouldn’t do it. I think teaching is paramount to my writing. It’s this wonderful cycle where the students encourage me, I encourage them, and we’re all better for it.

CP: What are some of your hobbies?
BH: Writing isn’t a hobby but it’s the only thing I really do besides teach these days. I’ll walk the dog, take the kids sledding, I’ll fall around on cross-country skis once in a while, but mostly what I do is get up early, write until my fingers hurt, then go to class. And that’s a great day.

CP: What’s your favorite thing to write?
BH: Lately, it has been essays. I’m really interested in all kinds of research related to tornadoes, drownings, disasters and animals. I’ve been writing a lot about our relationship with our pets, so I’m excited to keep writing about those issues.