Students aren’t the only ones with butterflies at this time of the year. My fellow instructors and I also are eagerly anticipating the fall semester at Front Range Community College.
It is around this time in the summer when we start calling and emailing each other, meeting for coffee, and talking about our summers. My summer was composed of many different activities: vacations, fishing, songwriting, playing music in my band, working at other jobs, and teaching a summer course. But in between those activities, I was also working on academic research and course development. So, yeah, my last three months were busy, but that’s typical for an instructor.
What is an Instructor?
Instructors make up a diverse group of individuals who teach part-time at Front Range. While some of the classes at FRCC are taught by full time faculty, the majority are taught by adjunct instructors. To get hired at FRCC to teach general education courses, instructors must have a master’s degree in their area of expertise and knowledge of and experience in teaching. Instructors may teach one or more sections. This semester I will be teaching four sections of English Composition, and I can’t wait to get in the classroom and meet my students!
We Are Dedicated to Our Students.
Being an instructor at a community college is hard work, but it is work we welcome because we are dedicated to our students and their success. Instructors spend a lot of time developing courses, planning lessons, and grading—not to mention the time spent in class teaching. Also, there is a lot of uncertainty in the life of an instructor, as our schedules change a lot from semester to semester, and several of us work at second jobs outside of school in order to be economically self-sufficient. But it is worth it to see the look on students’ faces when they have a breakthrough or understand a new concept. Working with students is the bright spot in our day. Put simply, our main focus is helping students with their educational and career goals. And lucky for us, we get to do that at Front Range.
We Are Engaged With the Community.
As a “community” college, Front Range totally lives up to its name. Several of my colleagues went to Colorado State University (CSU), where I received my master’s degree in rhetoric and composition. Having that connection between Front Range and CSU is important for our students who may want to transfer there. This connection is important for us, too. Several of us stay in contact with our professors from CSU, and those professors continue to mentor and guide us through our careers.
We also connect out to others in the community. This is one of the most exciting aspects of being an instructor! In my classes, I have writers, published in Fort Collins’s own Matter Journal, come in and talk about writing. Many of my colleagues not only teach classes, but also work right here in Fort Collins at other jobs in their areas of expertise. The opportunity to educate students in a real community atmosphere is one of the reasons my colleagues and I choose to work here.
We Are Innovative.
Beginning a new semester is exciting because of the innovative ideas that instructors come up with throughout the year. When my fellow instructors and I get together, we do a lot of talking about how eager we are to try new things in the classroom. I’m personally excited to add some new writing projects to my English Composition classes. I also will spend fall 2012 working on some new courses I am designing in collaboration with some of my colleagues. But most of all, I am just looking forward to meeting my new students! Bring on the next semester!