My last days at Trinity

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Professor Z. Never in a million years did I see that coming in my life!

Tomorrow (Wednesday, May 13), I will teach my last class at Trinity Christian College. I spent three years teaching several journalism classes, PR and public speaking. I advised the student newspaper and worked in the theater.
The school suffered from a $2.2 million budget crisis. That is how the world moves sometimes. I found out my fate just before Christmas, but held out talking about it because it was hard to think about. Fortunately, the school kept me on until May with pay until August.

Ten years ago, teaching in any capacity was nowhere on my life radar. In fact, life wasn’t even on my radar. I was an aimless soul. But after my dad’s passing, I knew I had to make a change. Somehow that change led to the classroom. I hated school for years; couldn’t wait to get out. Yet, I found myself in front of the class spewing out a fact on media ethics or how to quote a person in a story.

So I leave here looking forward to my next step in my professional journey, which news of that will come soon.

I leave here realizing how much I absolutely love teaching. Yes, there are moments a student drives you crazy when they try to hide the cell phone under the desk. Staring at your crotch smiling is a dead give away!

When I decided to take the leap into education, I did so knowing I didn’t just want to teach, but I wanted to inspire the next generation of students. I have some great professors who teach at EKU/Northwestern and I call friends. They mentored me and taught me some of the greatest lessons outside of the classroom. They make a difference. In fact, they are the ones who I wanted to emulate and become a professor.

I wanted to do the same for my students. It’s not just about textbooks and lectures, it was about preparing them for the outside world. Showing them how great they are and what they can achieve, that is teaching to me.

One student said, “School applied to life,” when referring to my class.

As I read the messages on a card one class gave me, I feel like my stop here was everything I hoped it would be when I arrived three years ago. The emails and messages students sent me back that up.  I want to push my students to be whatever they want to be. Be different; be unique; be proud; push yourself; challenge yourself and most importantly, don’t settle. That’s an important message I preached.

On a weekly basis, students would knock on my door with a question, then 45 minutes later I realized I was behind on work.

Teaching isn’t just what you give them in the classroom, it’s also the work you put into them to help shape their lives moving forward. I know I did that on some level.

These students are incredible individuals, filled with amazing qualities. I cannot wait to see what they do moving forward. It’s like a parent sending their child off to school with a smile on their face. I leave here with friends and people I know will go off and leave their mark on this world, hopefully inspiring people along the way.

The students make the school. Without them, we have nothing. So it’s important to invest everything you have into these fine young people.

Without students there is no university. We have to give our students everything, hoping they give back.

Luckily, with social media it’s easy to stay in touch with my students and future leaders of America.

Three years ago, I had a stuffy office made out of makeshift office items in the basement of a smelly dorm. I was just an adjunct, so I shouldn’t even have had an office, but I begged. So they gave me that space. It was perfect. I just wanted a chance. Then they hired me on full-time.

I leave here accomplishing more than I could have imagined, ready for what’s next.

The students make the school. And Trinity has some darn good students.

Thank you for the wild ride and the incredible memories (and there are many).

It’s not goodbye, it’s just see you later.

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