#NISODProfiles – Amy Poteet
“Education changes lives, and it’s a treasure to witness that.“
#NISODProfiles | May 2, 2019
What is your favorite part about being a community college educator?
I enjoy the opportunity to work with young people and helping them become what they want to become. Education changes lives, and it’s a treasure to witness that.
What is your best piece of advice for new or existing colleagues at community or technical colleges in your field?
If you are relatively new to higher education, choose a mentor (informally) from among the most valued tenured faculty on campus. Seek advice, support, and help from that person. I was 22 years old when I began teaching and my mentor was my rock. I’ll be eternally grateful to her. If you’ve been in higher education for many years, reach out to the younger faculty. Help them and be their ally. Education is a field that requires a lot of support from colleagues.
How do you connect with your students?
I try to remember important things about my students’ lives. When I see something in the news or in a show that makes me think of a student, I will be sure to tell him or her about it. For example, I’ll say, “I heard about a person was rescued from human trafficking on the news. I thought about your speech on that topic and wondered if you had heard about this particular case?” Or, “I made submarine sandwiches for dinner last night; your demonstration speech about sandwich making really inspired me!” I really do value what I learn from my students, and I want them to know that.
If you could have dinner with anyone, who would it be and why?
If I could choose to dine with anyone, it would be with all of my relatives who are no longer alive—a whole table of my ancestors. I’d like to meet everyone back to the very first generation that made it to America up to my late relatives like my father, my mother, and my dear sister. I love learning about family, and I would adore being able to meet the people who shaped my remaining siblings and me.
Share a memorable teaching experience and explain why it was so impactful.
I have too many to share. The funny and painfully awkward ones probably taught me the most but, in a nutshell, it’s these that help me to remember that our perspectives are very personally formed, and we have no idea what our students’ experiences are that shaped them.
Every month, NISOD profiles faculty and staff from our member colleges who are doing extraordinary work on their campuses. #NISODProfiles offer a direct connection to your colleagues from across the world who exemplify NISOD’s mission of improving teaching, learning, and leadership.