Celebrate Learning! Fall 2015 (Vol 7, issue 1) - Page 4

By Lu Ann Thompson person she sees looking back at her. I, too, wanted to look in the mirror and feel comfortable with my choices, so I chose to teach English and trust that the money would follow. Assistant Professor Communication Services Northeast Campus How did you choose higher education vs public school? What brought you to TCC as a student? Because I wanted to teach English, I considered teaching middle or high school, but one day, I walked in to the Metro Campus just to explore what an interested person with a bachelor’s degree in English, and working on a Master’s degree, needed to do to teach at TCC. I conducted an unplanned informational interview with Mary Walker, whom I did not know at the time, and I asked her how I should prepare. I began my education as a chemistry major at TU. I then changed my major to math before deciding on English as my major. Like many of our students, I was working seventy hours a week, yet the expense of taking so many classes added up, so I stopped taking classes until I could fully concentrate on my education—even though I had earned 84 hours toward finishing my English major there. In my early twenties, I worked as a full-time manager at Sipes’ Food Market, so the long hours as a manager conflicted with my studying at the University of Tulsa. I made a purposeful decision to stop out from school until I could make education my first priority. At the age of twenty-five, I started at American Airlines; I needed a degree to move up in the company and be successful, so because I had 84 credit hours from TU, I turned to TCC to earn an Associate of Arts in English. I continued working at American Airlines for eleven years. The company supported me by transferring me from Dallas to Tulsa so that I could work part-time for them while completing my B.A. in English from NSU and my Master’s degree from OSU. She asked me the following standard interview question: “Who would benefit most from being in your classroom?” I answered, “Students who have struggled to get an education, who have overcome barriers but have stuck with it and want to make something of their lives. I can help those students.” She asked, “Are you more interested in Writing I or Writing II?” I said, “For me to understand what students are going through, I would have to start with Writing I and move up to Writing II.” She said, “Good. So, I have a Writing I class that would be perfect for you.” Why did you choose English as a major? An English teacher helped me with an assignment entitled, “What do you want to do with your life?” At that time, I was a math major, but I liked people, liked talking with people, helping them think and learn and evaluate. That happens in math, but English is more about exploring ideas, which fits me so much better; however, I often wondered how I could grade all of those English papers and make enough money to survive if I chose to teach English. The English assignment helped me explore my purpose for teaching: should my career choice be about money and time or about personal and spiritual satisfaction? Although I don’t listen to Lady Gaga’s music, I like a statement I recently heard during one of her interviews about looking in the mirror and knowing that she can go to bed every night with the I asked, “Did I just get hired?” She said, “Yes, you did.” I went in for information about teaching at TCC, and to my shock, I left with a job! A year later in 2001, a full-time position became available, and I applied. I have been at TCC as full-time English faculty for fourteen years. So then, did you go through ATE as a new faculty member? ATE began in 2000. I was in the 2001 cohort. By the second year, the training was individualized so that we could explore topics of personal interest. Because of ATE, I met Lynnda Brown who taught Eighth Floor classes, and even though I was hired to 4