Assistant Professor of Spanish at Liberty University
I am in my third year teaching Spanish language/grammar and Latin American culture and literature at Liberty University. I also am the faculty advisor for our chapter of the Sigma Delta Pi Spanish Honor Society. Lastly, I am the assessment coordinator for the Department of Modern Languages.
Teaching in a field that I am passionate about is a privilege that I do not take for granted. I enjoy the variety of classes that I get to teach, from introductory Spanish grammar courses to upper-level literature classes for majors. This semester I have had the opportunity to teach a class at the master's level. What is more, one of the aspects that I find particularly rewarding is the opportunity to mentor students via the Spanish Honor Society, by serving on undergraduate honors thesis committees, or through other avenues. It gives me immense pride and satisfaction to witness a student's growth first-hand.
The program at Mason very much prepared me for not only my career, but also for my doctoral program. The classes I took were rigorous and highly relevant to the field, and the faculty took an active interest in investing in my growth. In a way, they modeled many of the practices that I now use. Lastly, my experience as a graduate teaching assistant allowed me to gain valuable experience in the profession.
Now that I am on the other side of the proverbial teacher's desk, I realize that a key component to graduate study and preparation for one's career is precisely the relationship you form with your professors. In my search for a doctoral program, my mentor at Mason played a key role, and when looking for a job, I relied heavily on the expertise of my dissertation chair: both of them were constant editors and sounding boards for many ideas. In short, take interest in your professors' classes and research, and take advantage of the experience and wisdom of these professionals around you who have already "been there and done that."