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Teaching and researching, that is, working on one's own original books and articles, are often called the twin pillars of academia. Most of the time, professors will be engaged in one of these two tasks. Sometimes people see these tasks as existing in competition with one another, as though teaching takes away time that could be devoted to researching, or vice versa. I see these tasks as existing, not in tension, but in complimentary. Because I teach, I must constantly revisit and re-present the historical material that is my area of expertise, and because of my students' enthusiasm for new material, I am saved from the danger of becoming lackadaisical or complacent about my research. Teaching allows me to see my own academic interests as new all the time, rather than just being more of the same. In addition, teaching sharpens my ability to convey my own ideas, which is critically important in academic writing- after all, what does it matter if a person has profound and innovative... read more

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