How long have you been an educator?
What is your favorite part about being a community or technical college educator?
I love being a community college educator because I can help students succeed right in their hometown while giving them the tools they need to move forward in their educational career to either a 4-year university or trade school. The community college environment is like a tight-knit family where everyone helps each other and is always willing to go that extra mile. I also enjoy working with dual credit and early college students, making sure that they leave my classroom knowing that college isn’t scary and that achieving a college degree is an attainable goal.
What is your best piece of advice for new or existing colleagues at community or technical colleges in your field?
With every new year or semester, the students that fill our classrooms are extremely different from ones previously sitting in those seats. We have to meet them where they are while still making sure the educational value is just as rich. One of the greatest lessons I learned is that no matter how many years or times a day you teach a certain lesson or concept in class, you have to remember that these students are hearing it for the first time. Don’t get frustrated when you have to repeat yourself multiple times a day, or get lazy with the delivery of the material.
How do you connect with your students?
I connect with my students where they are. I use different digital technology and mass communication (apps, texting, social media), especially when it comes to in-class activities and sending assignment reminders. I also do my best to relate the material I am presenting in a way that makes sense and is relevant to their lives. The late Millennials, and now Generation Z’ers, who inhabit our classrooms are so different from my classmates and me in how they learn, engage, and communicate. The average attention span for Gen Z is just 8 seconds. Knowing that, I try to keep myself updated with new emerging trends and technology to meet my students on their turf and keep them engaged in class.
If you could have dinner with anyone, who would it be and why?
If I could have dinner with anyone, it would be Barbara Bush or Betty White. Or both at the same time! Both ladies inspire me not only to be a trailblazer, but to do so with poise, style, and class. Barbara was so instrumental in creating literacy programs and, of course, being one of the most beloved First Ladies in the United States. Betty is just a spitfire and I could listen to her tell stories of her acting career and listen to her accounts of growing up in the industry while still remaining herself.