Alisa Cooper–If you have not had the opportunity of learning from Alisa, you’re missing out. A true mentor, Alisa has taught me not just directly when I have a question, but also by modeling her own courses which she generously lets me look at and materials she lets me borrow. She has inspired me to “Alisa-Cooper-my-courses,” a phrasing I’m sure she doesn’t like. I feel like my online and hybrid courses get better and better because I have her models to follow. Her level of achievement pushes me to work harder. Yes, an old dog can learn new tricks, and I’m learning a lot of mine lately from her.
GCC Students–Every day when I walk into my classrooms, I am reminded that our students are here to improve themselves. I save many of them in my memory–those who have really impressed me with their grit and courage, those I see a semester or two later who are still truckin’ and sometimes telling me about their upcoming graduation. I see Mary*, a single mother who started out doubtful and questioning her decision to attend school and make a life change, who is now closer than ever to her goal of becoming a nurse. I see Nick*, a veteran, who is looking to start a second career after gaining the degree he needs. I see Tammy*, a student who lived in foster care as a child and now wants to advocate for changes to the system. How could I not be inspired?
Family–Now I know that my family is not at GCC, but they strongly inspire me to be the best employee and teacher I can be when I’m at GCC. My brother, a strong advocate for public education and an assistant superintendent, struggled in school as a child. He has since outpaced me in getting two master’s degrees and a doctorate degree. He has worked harder than just about anyone I know,
|Holly and Andrew|
and he inspires me to work hard. Likewise, my wife continues to challenge herself, taking on new leadership roles and job experiences, stepping into unfamiliar territory. I admire her and learn more from her than any other person. She is apt to take risks and courageous to the point that sometimes I am just in awe. She left a cushy classroom gig to enter administration and then left her familiar, safe district to lead a high school in a new district. Her example inspires me to take on challenges that I might otherwise say no to.
What do they all have in common? Possibility. Passion. Permission. Their work and achievements demonstrate what is possible. Their passions buoy them to the next achievement. Unwittingly, they inspire me to say “Yes” to the Universe and its challenges.
*Names have been changed.