How long have you been a college educator?
I have been teaching for 9 years.
What is your favorite part about being a community or technical college educator?
Professionally, there is no better feeling then visiting with a former student that has recently completed their goal. A recent example is linked here. Helping our students see potential in themselves; coaching them through obstacles; supporting them, but also allowing them the freedom to struggle as a means to grow; and watching as students realize their goals…that’s what I enjoy.
What is your best piece of advice for new or existing colleagues at community or technical colleges in your field?
You are changing the lives of students, many of whom never thought college could be a reality. Let that sink in (and never forget it)…now go and make a difference!
How do you connect with your students?
There is no substitute for a face-to-face, one-on-one, and small group discussion. While the various forms of social networking allow for maintained contact, taking the time to chat in person sends its own message.
Share a memorable teaching experience and explain why it was so impactful.
I cannot narrow this down to a single experience. What I can do is share the phrase uttered to me when I was a self-doubting undergraduate student struggling to find my way. “If not you, then who?” was what my undergraduate mentor challenged me with (read my Kennedy Center Sondheim Award essay on my mentor here, under “Christopher Wild Nominator”). It is no exaggeration to say that I hear that phrase every time I meet with a self-doubting student and then find myself repeating it to them. It may very well be the first time a mentor has affirmed their potential. I am honored to have been given the opportunity to pass along this message to a number of students that have become successful college graduates.