Monday, March 12, 2012

People Who Have Influenced Me

This is at the top of my to-do list.
by Ann Abbott

Community service learning (CSL) is truly a collaborative effort. Every day that I teach I realize how lucky I am to have great students who go the extra mile (literally) to engage with our community partners. And all of this hinges on the good will, time and professionalism of my community partners.

But today I started thinking about a broader list of people I should thank. People who have mentored me, taught me, questioned me, prodded me, supported me, enlightened me, inspired me and much more.

Who would be on your list? Have you thanked them lately?

Bill VanPatten. He taught the methods course when I was a new graduate student TA. He taught us exactly the same way he told us to teach. What a great model.

Jim Lee. He gave me my opportunity to be a TA Supervisor. I learned even more about teaching and I got my first taste of collaborating with others.

Anna Maria Escobar and Louise Neary. I wrote machine-scored grammar items with them way back in the 90s. I would do things differently now, but we were on the leading edge of teaching with technology at the time.

Elena Delgado. She was my dissertation advisor. Without my PhD I wouldn't be where I am today. And my doctoral studies in literature helped me approach Spanish CSL with a critical, interpretive approach that I think enriches my teaching, even though I no longer teach literature. Elena helped me get a job as an Instructor back in 2000. It's in that position that I found my niche and grew into the work that I do today.

Darcy Lear. She gave me the push I needed to go from thinking interesting things to actually publishing them. She is my ideal collaborator and an honest, true friend.

Diane Musumeci. I don't think it is possible to feel more supported by your Head than I did with Diana. And I loved that she gave me room to grow.

Maida Watson. I went on her CIBER-sponsored program for Business Spanish in Spain. I came home with lots of great materials that went straight into my teaching. I appreciate that she pulls me into projects along with her.

Donna Binkowski. My biggest thanks of all go to her. She published my work when she was at Pearson, and I will forever be grateful for that. I love everyone at Pearson.

Holly Nibert. I have picked up so many important tidbits about teaching and mentoring TAs from Holly. Most importantly, though, I have learned through her to be mindful about my work processes--and to be kinder to myself. 

Patrick Dilley. So few people from my hometown of Clay City went to college, let alone got a PhD and went on to work in academia. Patrick and I both did. That alone will tie us together forever. That and the powdered donuts.

Gillian Ward. I admire her approach to using and researching technology in teaching. To me she simply is the next generation of leaders in our field.

Kim Potowski. Wow. A force of nature. I like her, and I feel a creative connection with her.

Marcos Campillo. Marcos got me on Facebook, and for that alone I am grateful. I love the creativity he puts into his teaching materials and his wide-ranging use of technology.

Beniamino Barbieri. I hate it when authors write sappy or insipid dedications to their spouse. That's not what this is. I learned about entrepreneurship and international business by listening to him, observing him and working in his office for one very trying year. I bring that into my teaching all the time.

Tifani Moot. She is my closest (four houses down, to be exact) example of a female entrepreneur. She's a big help to me in many practical ways.

Silvina Montrul. My current Head. I have learned about flexibility and creative problem-solving by watching her. She is also a model of productivity and passion for her research and writing.

Jose Miguel Lemus. He worked with me on the CSL course and administration. He cared it about as much as I.

There are many more people that have influenced and helped me. Dedicating yourself to CSL is not easy, and it is never something that you do all on your own.

Now on to grading exams!

1 comment:

  1. Wow, what a generous thing to do! We should all have a similar list. Since you were acknowledged in my first book, we can start a society of mutual admiration. Thank you.