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10 Questions with M. Martin, Instructor in English

Why did you decide to pursue English?

Funny thing: I started out wanting to major in History. I loved the myth-busting, “behind the scenes” stories that historians dig into and get to reveal to the world. For example, every child in America learns to recite the poem, “In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue…,” but the historian eventually comes along and points out inconvenient facts—that Columbus never set foot on or even glanced at North America, that he wasn’t even the first European to sail into the Americas, that it is inaccurate to call him “Italian” (Italy did not yet exist). But when I realized that what intrigues me is this power of storytelling, the power of language to shape and frame experience, understanding, knowledge, and truth, I fell in love with the discipline of English.

What is your favorite part about teaching?

​My favorite part of teaching is interacting with students. That exchange of ideas and questions, the mutual exploration that happens when we are talking, thinking, reading, writing about a common text. I guess because I would love to be a full-time student my whole life, being a teacher is the next best thing!

What is it like being a house counselor in Adams House?

​It’s not like anything I’ve ever experienced before! I’ve never been responsible for the well-being of 36 people all at once, which is a pretty complex thing. I feel so grateful to have such amazing kids in Adams. Literally, every single girl is so special, and our Proctors are incredible, which makes our job so much fun.

What is one of your interests?

​One of my interests is following Women’s Professional Cycling. Women’s road racing is so much more exciting to watch and follow than men’s racing, which is riddled with doping and corruption.

What is one thing you could not live without? ​

My family—my spouse and child!

Why do you go by M. Martin?

​I thought about this for a long time before I started teaching at Andover. Before coming here, I would have students call me by my first name. That practice is not allowed here by culture and tradition, which I wanted to respect, but I also am not comfortable about how this custom genders people, and also implicitly operates within the norms of assumed heterosexual norms. Under the current custom, all women are labeled according to their relationship with men: are you a single female? Okay, you get to be called “Miss” or “Ms.” Are you a married female (male spouse assumed)? Okay, you get to be called, “Mrs.” A gender-neutral courtesy title, like “M.” strips away these signifiers.

What is your favorite spot on campus? ​

I love the bell tower, the path, and trees behind Addison [Gallery of American Art] and [the Oliver Wendell Holmes Library], but most of all, the Quad!

What is something that most people don’t know about you?

My full name is Coreen Corrie Martin, and since I’ve been a child, I’ve preferred the name “Corrie.” And, “Coreen” still appears on all my legal documents. So, people think “Corrie” is a nickname, but it is actually my real name!

What is your favorite book? ​

The book I keep going back to year after year is “Eichmann in Jerusalem,” by Hannah Arendt. It is a singular text: a spectacular feat of heroic, truth-telling journalism by one of the world’s greatest philosophers.

Who inspires you?

​My spouse, Dr. Marisela Ramos [Instructor in History and Social Sciences and LGBTQ+ Adult Coordinator]. She constantly surprises me. I mean, I know how smart and capable she is, and I see how hard she works every day. And still, I find myself always saying, “Wow, how did you know that?” or “How did you do that?” She is just incredible.