Booking agent turned techno geek. Worked in music in Nashville, TN for years - now teach business technology at St Charles Community College in Cottleville, MO.
I’m an Associate Professor at SCC in Business Administrative Systems and advisor for Phi Beta Lambda. Teaching is my second career. I worked in the music business and lived in Nashville, TN for almost 20 years, but I grew up in Leadwood, MO—about an hour and a half south of St Louis, population 1247…yes, that is twelve hundred not thousand.
I took my first college class with my mom. I think that experience set my opinion and passion for community college. When I was a sophomore in high school, the local community college (Mineral Area College in Park Hills -- though at that time it was Flat River) offered a basic computer programming class through my high school (West County High). Thanks to Mrs. Rawson, we were small but we were on the front end of computer education in our area. My mom and I attended the class in the evenings and learned to program on Radio Shack computers, The school also had a couple of Apple IIe computers, but those were to the Radio Shack computers what the two electric typewriters were to the class full of manual typewriters. The class was made up of people of all ages and professions with their own goals.
A couple of years later, I began full-time at Mineral Area College. I knew I was transferring to Belmont University in Nashville when I was finished, so I met with a counselor there and built my schedules each semester according to our transfer plan. The makeup of my classes at MAC this time around were similar to my first class. I really enjoyed the diversity; it kept things interesting sometimes when my 18-year old self didn't think they could be. The classes were relatively small and help was there if you asked, though in my new-found freedom, those 8 a.m. classes seemed completely unfair and proved difficult to attend. My music theory class was only four students - me, another student my age (with perfect pitch!), and two returning learners. That was one of the most memorable classes for me. It could have been the class, the comradery, or the fact that it was a 5 credit hour class four semesters in a row. I also spent a lot of time in the music department those two years. My high school band director, Mr. Schunks, and college band director, Ms. Moore, worked with me to prepare and helped me to record an audition tape for a music scholarship at Belmont. Neither had to do it or had to take their own evenings and go to the extent they did, but I was (and still am) very grateful that they did.
My first teaching positions were in community colleges. It wasn't a stretch for me to remember being in those classes myself, and I hope that it still isn't. I see friends and family in many of my students and their situations, which I think helps me relate and be a little more empathetic at times. Maybe (hopefully) it also gives me a little edge when I make those connections, but the truth is that it happens without thinking. I'm, by far, not the only teacher to have this experience.