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Hartman enjoys teaching, Germanic poetry, martial arts

Dr. Megan Hartman shows off her mappa mundi, which is a medieval European map of the world. Hartman’s office is decorated with maps of the places she visits in books. She has maps from the “Lord of the Rings” and “Game of Thrones”, among others.

English prof shares fascination with  history, myths through connection with students
By: Jessica Moser

Dr. Megan Hartman, an assistant professor of English, loves teaching history of the English language. Hartman says she finds it fascinating.

“I get to talk a little bit more about my obsession, the older stuff. Even though I have to sort of drag my students kicking and screaming back to the older stuff,” Hartman said. “It’s so fascinating, the way the language has developed and the little quirks that kind of work into the language. It’s really fun to think about the history.”

Hartman is teaching just grammar and linguistics this semester because she has a course release for her research. She is currently researching early Germanic poetry.

“I look at the metrical patterns and compare ways that the poets are manipulating the meter in different ways for different reasons, and I talk about how you can use those to interpret the poems,” Hartman said. “Right now, I’m looking at old Norse poetry, which is difficult because old Norse is a tough language.”

Hartman also loves teaching her class in old Norse mythology, a course on the myths themselves and their modern adaptations. “We just have fun,” Hartman said. “It’s a bunch of fellow nerdy, comic-book loving, Marvel movie-going people and we read these things and geek out about them together. We just have the best conversations. I’m reading stuff I love, and then I go to class and have a good conversation with people who love it, too.”

Hartman’s favorite part of teaching is when students come back and talk to her. “When students come back and are like ‘Whoa, that has helped me out so much,’ because then I feel like ‘yeah, this is doing something,’” Hartman said.

Outside of academia, Hartman studies martial arts. She has been a martial artist since she was 9 years old. Hartman has three blackbelts so far, each in a different martial arts style. “It’s always been something that’s sort of helped keep me grounded and that I really love doing.”

Hartman recently bought a house, and one of the things she looked for was whether the house was big enough for her to have her own little dojo. “So, the master bedroom in my new house, because that was the only room even close to big enough, is now a dojo and I’m in one of the smaller bedrooms,” said Hartman. “It works out well for me.”

Teaching martial arts was a way for Hartman to make extra money as a graduate student at Indiana University. Now she is studying To-Shin-Do. “I have to remind myself sometimes that I’m not teaching anymore; I’m just a student,” said Hartman. “It’s really fun working with the To-Shin-Do because I’m learning a lot of new stuff and hanging out with a lot of new people. It’s also kind of fun to not have the pressure of being the teacher. I can just learn new techniques and do fun stuff.”

Hartman also enjoys playing the piano and running. “I don’t get to do those things as much as I like, but I try to sneak them in around the edges,” said Hartman.

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