Program: Certificates in Composition & Post-Secondary Reading, 2014
Employer & Current Position: Clovis Community College & Fresno City College, English & Reading Instructor
How has your M.A. from SFSU helped get you to be where you are today?
Three words to describe my time earning the Composition and Reading certificates would be: challenging, engaging, and supportive. The time, work, and thinking put into each course challenged me to understand the theoretical aspects of teaching college English and the whys and hows of how the field of composition and reading began and evolved to its present state. Each course engaged me to think about my experiences learning how to read and write and what kind of experiences I wanted to create for my students as a future English educator. My peers and my professors supported me along the way to deepen my understanding and my pedagogy so I could evolve into a better teacher and better scholar of the field.
Professor Goen-Salter guided me toward this deeper understanding in her English 701 course, Professor Lockhart was critical and supportive of my choices in English 710, and Professor Roberge modeled teaching practices I have utilized in my own classrooms during his English 704 and 709 classes. I also enjoyed my time and became a better teacher while tutoring in the English Tutoring Center (ETC) as part of English 704 with James Warren Boyd. These classes and these people still influence and inform my practices of English instruction.
What advice would you give to someone interested in your profession?
For any job or profession in education, I would suggest you find a mentor or an advocate who understands your philosophies and beliefs so they can connect you with the right people at the right institutions. I also suggest you ask professors if they know of anyone who is at a certain college or part of the state and nation that you are particularly interested in teaching at. There is a wide range of former students from the Composition Program who are teaching, especially in California, so you are bound to find someone who has gone through SF State.
Also, if you are unsure where to start or how to go about the job application process for an English position at the college level, be bold, reach out, and ask questions to receive guidance. I always felt so nervous asking for help, but the professors and my peers were generous with their time and resources. I am so thankful for the generosity and support that has extended beyond graduate school, from my mentors and colleagues at SF State.
Interested students can e-mail Von for more information and advice at firstname.lastname@example.org