By: Heather Beyer
I am actually coming back to academia after a year’s absence. Before this, I worked at West Virginia University while I was getting my Masters of Fine Arts in Creative Writing. There, I taught freshman composition and the continuation of that class that is for sophomores. I also taught creative writing and I did a lot of creative writing workshops. Then I was kind of burned out at the end of grad school and decided to take a year off.
I did something really random and took a position at Half Price Books in Cleveland.
It seemed like a really good fit because it’s books; I know a lot about books and it is a chance to work with people. It was a really good job. I had fun. I realized as a result of working in customer service that I wanted to go back to teaching. When you are doing retail, you maybe have 30 seconds tops with someone who asks you a question. In teaching, you get to know a group of people over a course of 18 weeks or so. It is just a lot more fulfilling. I just realized that I wanted to go back and do it again.
Courses being taught this semester:
Teaching English 111, three sections located in Zook and the Business Administration Building
I put in phone calls to a bunch of area universities for comp jobs. I was engaged and was going to move to the Alliance area. I met with people at Kent and also at Kent Stark. Then I came here. I was really attracted to the fact that the department here has a MFA (Master of Fine Arts) program. There is a really cool cultural arts thing within this department and within Akron as a whole.
I go to a lot of concerts, EJ Thomas Hall, the Broadway series and have also seen some really great orchestra concerts. I am really excited about Jeannette Walls coming next month and talking about her book, “The Glass Castle.” I really like the atmosphere. You wouldn’t think that it would be the kind of university that it is, that is real artsy and really focused on promoting education in that regard. It is just a really unique place to be, just because it seems like a smaller school than it really is.
Perspective on Akron:
I love it! I really like the students here. It is a really unique body, I think because Akron is a smaller school that is in the middle of a fairly large city, something about that creates a really unique atmosphere. The students, even though it is a public university, they want to be here. There is a really strong work ethic. They want to be in class. They want to learn things. That makes for a much better environment for me to be in. If they want to be there, then I can be there to help them out more.
Thoughts of Campus/ Campus Life:
You wouldn’t picture this kind of school in the middle of Akron. I like that it is an attractive campus and that there is always something going on. Students always seem to have something that they are really excited about. I like that there is a random food stand out by the library. I like that smaller school atmosphere in the middle of the city.
Our main goal is to get students, who are freshmen, oriented to writing on a college level. They come from a variety of different experiences in high school where they are not all on the same page when they get to college. Some of them may not have even been taught what a thesis statement is or how to organize a paper. We do those things but also try to get them to explore finding their own voice as writers.
I understand freshmen come into English classes not loving to write or even having had good experiences with writing. I like to try and help them. Maybe you don’t want to be here, but maybe you could enjoy learning how to write a little bit.
I like the opportunity to work closely with people. And work closely on a level with them on something that I really enjoy. I have been a student of writing in the past and still am. It is not a process that stops. I find that I have a lot of experience so that when dealing with students, I can relate them.