Inside look at Doe Dahm

Dorothy “Doe” Dahm is a member of the Castleton Academic Support staff, and a self-described anglophile. In addition, she teaches several classes at Castleton and works with the Castleton Support Team. 

Q: How long have you been at Castleton?

            A: It depends. I’ve been here in different capacities. I started tutoring here at the Academic Support Center since 2009. I’ve been teaching part time in the English Department since 2013. I’ve had quite a few positions here.

Q: According to your biography, you teach both English Composition and Effective Speaking.

            A: That’s out of date. I’ve taught quite a few classes here at Castleton. This semester, I’m teaching Touchstones of Western Literature, Expository in Argumentative Writing. In the past, I’ve also taught an independent study in technical and professional writing.

Q: What do you like about your jobs?
            A: I really appreciate the variety of work I do on a daily basis. I’ve held a variety of positions here, so I feel as though I’ve gotten to know students on different levels and had an impact on them, both in and out of the classroom. I like the fact that I’m always learning. I always feel that every semester I become a better teacher.

Q: What don’t you like about your jobs?

            A: I suppose.. it’s not a matter of disliking it, but you can’t always reach every student. Not every student is going to be successful. I wouldn’t say I dislike that, but it’s just a constant reminder that we’re all human. We can’t do everything.

Q: If you had to pick a favorite class that you’ve ever taught, what would it be?

            A: Again, difficult. I feel I’ve learned a lot from all of them. I have a special affection for Effective Speaking, because I really get to know the students. They begin the semester dreading the class, and then they open up to each other, to me, and we usually have a lot of fun together.

Q: How does Falmouth University compare to Castleton?

            A: Well, it’s completely different. It’s a British university. It’s a small arts, media, and design college on the Cornish coast. It’s very different from Castleton; it’s got more of a focus in those areas. I have a lot of affection for both institutions. It’s a very different student population. The two countries have very different educational systems.

Q: What brought you back home to Castleton?

            A: I finished graduate school in 2008. I tried working in the UK for a little while, ended up having to return to the US. I ended up doing freelance writing, and I got a part time position here. One thing lead to another, and my roles grew.

Q: What was your article in Cat Fancy about?

            A: That was a lot of fun. I profiled an Anglican nun who runs an animal sanctuary in the eastern shore of Maryland. She takes in lots of cats, and she’s written some books on her sanctuary work. That was a very fun assignment.

Q: Do you own any cats?

A: I am owned by a Maine coon mix. (laughs) I am her very humble servant.

Q: You are also involved in children’s literature, correct?

            A: I have a blog. It’s delayed at the moment. I review biographies written for children. I sometimes interview authors and illustrators. I also taught a class at Castleton called 19th Century Children’s Literature.

Q: What is your favorite children’s book, and why?

            A: I’m very fond of “The Moomins”, a series of books by a Finnish author, Tove Jansson. I like them because they’re very whimsical. There’s something slightly subversive about them, as you often find with Scandinavian children’s literature.

Q: Your actual name is Dorothy. How did you get your nickname?

            A: Doe? I’ve been ‘Doe’ since I was eighteen, since I started college. It’s a shortened version of a family name.

Q: What is the biggest thing a student has taught you?

            A: My teaching experience has shown me there are different paths to success. Some students seem very academically adept, but may not succeed as much as those that persist and work hard.

Q: Is there anything you want anyone to know?

            A: I hope that students know that faculty and staff care a lot about them individually. They’re really lucky to be a part of a community that value students individually. They should take advantage of that while they’re here.

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