When I came back to the States in the late summer, I caught a lucky break. I applied for an adjunct position at Suffolk County Community College and received a callback the next day. The voice on the line was one that I recognized, Professor Colin Clarke. I took a course by Dr. Clarke when I was going “back to school” at the age of 25. The class was entitled “The Art of Poetry”. During the term, I developed a deep respect for Dr. Clarke and also began to believe in my natural ability to make sense of complex art. Mixing dry humor with discipline and diligence, he remains one of the top influences in my approach to teaching.
Suffice it to say that he recognized my name and set me up with an interview. I met with Dr. Howard and Dr. Warshauer (whose science fiction class I had taken). The interview went well, and it turned out that there were two classes that were in need of an instructor (both of which were standard freshman comp). Since the classes started in two days, I was offered the position on the spot; an offer I graciously accepted. The only problem with my new job is that there was zero time to prepare. Hence, I was forced to mix time grading with preparations for each class.
By the end of the semester, though, I had found my groove. I was enjoying longer and deeper conversations with my students, and their writing had (generally) improved three fold. I had even received a glowing review by Dr. Clarke, who had observed one of my classes. Those few months might not have been my most bountiful, but I was more than happy to be putting my degree to use while helping improve and inspire the lives of others. Sadly, I was bumped in the spring due to seniority and so missed my chance at teaching intro to literature. I am happy to report, however, that I am lined up to teach two more classes in the Fall: developmental writing and freshman comp. I’ll have all summer to prepare an engaging class and look forward to meeting my new students.