With the semester on its, St. Rose English Graduate student Danielle Ely faces the end of her first semester as an adjunct professor for the English 101 class at Columbia Greene Community College. “My class is not meant to challenge students to write, but to show them how easy it is once they have the proper structures in place,” says Danielle when asked about her methodology. “I simply illuminate the structures that allow them to compose great essays.”
She also noted that one of her students this semester earned a scholarship thanks to one of the essays written for the course. She does not say that happening surprises her, however “Many students here don’t realize the talent they have before they get here. Since it’s an introductory course, many students haven’t written in this way since highschool.”
Danielle does not seem daunted at all by the job as well. “In my interview for the adjunct position Dean Carrito told me that teaching is tough, mostly because ideally the teacher (as in myself) loves the subject they are teaching. However, most of the students do NOT love the subject they are learning. She told me that that is the toughest part about teaching.” She went on to say that it is not too difficult maintaining the dichotomy of being both student and teacher. “Although you can always bring your love for the subject to the classroom, it is not the case that every student will come out wanting more. Some students are simply there to go through the motions. If I can’t make them all love English, I hope I can at least get them through the semester having learned something.”
When asked about if she saw herself teaching in the future, the response was quick, “Teaching at the college level has always been something I was interested in doing. Though I understand the importance of a democratically-structured class like 101, I would absolutely love teaching a higher level literature class. I would much rather teach students how to be thinkers, and how to analyze a text than to teach them the do’s and don’ts of writing. In writing, there may seem like too many do’s and don’ts but what that really means is that there are good methods of writing and then there are better.” She continued with how she saw her future in higher level courses. “I feel that analytical classes involving literature are a bit more open to interpretation. How can you be wrong about an interpretation of a book, unless you don’t back yourself up. I do see however, how classes like 101 are essential preparation for 102 or higher level classes. It’s great to have a solid foundation and know that students know how to build an argument before they try to tackle something like interpreting “Bartleby the Scrivener.”
So, as the curtain closes on the Spring semester at both St. Rose and Columbia-Green, the future looks bright for the St. Rose adjuncts: Danielle Ely and Tony Carrano, and, on behalf of the English Department, I wish them both a bright future in teaching.