Article author: Dr. Gail Summerskill
I have taught writing in middle school, high school, community college, college and graduate school, and am continually inspired by my students. In 2008, I started teaching part-time at Strayer University and now teach all the English classes Strayer offers at the North Charlotte campus. When I started at Strayer, I had no idea how much I would not only be inspired by but grow to love my Strayer students.
I learn something new from my Strayer students every time I meet or talk with them. Their courage, resilience, dedication and work ethic fill me with admiration and awe. When younger, I had started graduate school with an eight-month-old, four jobs and a lengthy daily commute to school, and I graduated eight years later with three children, ages four, six and eight. I know what it took for each student who sat through Strayer classes, on campus or online, to finally walk across the graduation stage. My students and I have that and so much more in common.
It’s hard work to go to college at any age, but especially when you’re a working adult. The stakes are higher when you’re older because you generally have more responsibilities and the dreams of changing your life and for self-empowerment are based on real-world work and life experiences. Fulfilling these dreams is worth every part of the struggle and hard work involved in completing each assignment and each class. Those who graduate from Strayer University worked hard for their degrees because so much depends on it.
I had no idea when I agreed to teach one night a week for Strayer University nine years ago that it would turn out to be one of the most rewarding jobs I could possibly have. When a student says to me, “Thanks for believing in me, Dr. S.; you made me believe in myself,” I go home stunned and feeling lucky beyond measure that I participated in someone’s empowerment journey. Loving my Strayer University students is easy. It is one of my life’s joys.
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