Voice Box

Interviews and photos By MYISHA KINBERG, staff writer

 

Student: Who is your favorite WCC teacher and why?

Teacher: What do you do to give your students a standout learning experience?

 

Ari RobinsonAri Robinson, 16, Ypsilanti, undecided

“My philosophy teacher, Charles Johnson, is my favorite teacher because he’s extremely knowledgeable about the subject. One of the main reasons why he’s such a good teacher is that he’s not biased at all, but at the same time very passionate and enthusiastic about the subject. He also lets us do revisions on our tests so we can improve our grade and show what we really know. The class is very interactive and he’s able to make the lectures interesting and understandable to students.”

 

Charles JohnsonCharles Johnson, 17 years at WCC, philosophy

“I help students learn how to explore the strengths and difficulties of the ideas and allow the students to form their own opinions on the topic. There’s a lot of fascinating ideas in the world, and some may have crossed a student’s mind. So, by looking at the work of others, my students walk away from my class with a sense of security to further explore those ideas. They also walk away with skills to do more complex critical thinking, and since we live in a democracy, we need people with those kind of skills. At the beginning of every class, I ask how everyone is doing, and once the students get more comfortable, I notice that people share good things – but also horrible things – and we as a class can support that student. By the end of the semester, we as a class have built a community of friends.”

 

Elizabeth StoffletElizabeth Stofflet, 18, Ann Arbor, business

“Nicole Cullin is a great communications teacher. She tries really hard to make the students less nervous by having us do activities or short speeches in front of small groups at the beginning of the semester. She’s also really friendly, which is good because she’s teaching a class that students are generally nervous about participating in.”

 

Nicole CullinNicole Cullin, 15 years at WCC, communication

“The thing I enjoy most about teaching is the relationships that I develop with the students and the confidence build up that I see the students gain … I do a lot of group activities and, from student feedback, the trend is that group work helps students get comfortable with each other and with me. I’m president of my chapter of “Toastmasters,” which is an organization designed to help people improve public speaking and learn communication techniques for speeches. I give frequent speeches at my organization, and I practice them in front of my students so they get to see me on their level. I think it shows them that, even though I have more experience, I still get the same insecurities as they do when I speak. But, by using my confidence, I can deliver the speech, and they can too.”

 

Gregory EddinsGregory Eddins, 20, Ypsilanti, physical therapy

“My English teacher, Julie Kissel, is my favorite because she has high expectations, and she also treats her students like adults. She wants everyone to do their best, so she’s strict, but she’s also knowledgeable and passionate about what she’s teaching. She really seems to love what she does, and I really appreciate that because she’s not just one of those teachers that’s teaching because they have to. She wants to, and that makes the class more interactive.”

 

Julie KisselJulie Kissel, 11 years at WCC, English

“The connections that I make with students and what I can learn from them is my favorite thing about teaching. I use a strong organization method in my class. I keep a folder and the students are required to keep a folder. Organization is such a small but important technique, and they will use it no matter where they go. Students generally don’t want to be in English classes, so I try to teach them the basics so they can take that into the real world and be as comfortable and confident as they should be.”

 

Jenna HassanJenna Hassan, 18, Ypsilanti, entertainment and design

“My English 111 teacher, April Riedy, is a really good teacher because she talks about a lot of topics that people normally wouldn’t hear about. She’s able to really understand what students are interested in and then present it in a way that captures our attention. She has a range of teaching methods; she plays movies, but also has us do book readings and reviews. Each essay topic she gives us is very different from one another. She’s also really open minded and funny, and she really cares about students.”

 

April RiedyApril Riedy, three years at WCC, English

“I enjoy watching students grow over the semester to become college level writers and college level thinkers. They walk away with writing skills that will help them throughout their college career and after. They become more critical thinkers, which will make them a better and more responsible citizen. The students watch two very thought provoking and engaging films, and, for the first two papers, that’s what they write on. Because they enjoy the films, the students get more excited about writing the papers, and once the students are interested in the subject they write better papers. I also try to make the class fun by doing contests and activities throughout the semester, and the students seem to really enjoy them.”

 

Matt BerardiMatt Berardi, 16, Milan, welding

“Brad Metz is my favorite teacher because he makes all of his biology lectures fun and entertaining. We take tests every other week in that class and he makes sure to only put stuff on that tests that we actually learned. He also grades you on what you know so if you give extra information on a test you can get points for that. He’s really laid back, but he’s also really passionate about the subject.”

 

Brad MetzBrad Metz, 12 years at WCC, biology

“People ask me if I get tired of teaching the same material every semester and I tell them it’s not the same because every class is different and unique and there’s always questions you’ve never heard before. I try to relate things in class to everyday life examples, especially for abstract ideas, and if I’m able to give an example and see a light bulb go off in a student just once in a semester, seeing that is the best thing about teaching.”

 

Moussa CondeMoussa Conde, 24, Ann Arbor, clinical psychology

“My communication teacher for this semester, Claire Sparklin, is a really good teacher. She’s always really helpful when it comes to explaining the material. She’s also really nice and friendly to her students, which makes the class less stressful. The way she structures the class is also really helpful because we do speeches in front of small groups and work our way up to longer speeches in front of the whole class towards the end of the semester.”

 

Claire SparklinClaire Sparklin, 10 years at WCC, communication

“The students are my favorite thing about teaching because I’m an expert in my field, but the students are experts in so many fields. I am constantly learning new things from them. I give them the opportunity to learn skills that will set them apart from others. I want them to feel confident and more secure when they have to present, and I want them to walk out with better communication skills that they can use in the workplace and also in their community. I try not to talk in front of the class; I try to encourage my students to engage with the information from the course, and I like to have them do things. If we are talking about a theory, I have them read it and try it out in a small group. When I lecture I try not to talk at students. I want everyone in the class to be a part of the discussion, and actively participating in the lecture.”

 

Shaely ColosimoShaely Colosimo, 18, South Lyon, child development

“My favorite teacher is Kevin Cosgrove. He teaches sociology. He is very outgoing and helpful. He’s always very prepared and has thoughtful lectures. He also wants all of his students to understand and succeed as well as really take away material we learned. So his examples apply to real life scenarios, which makes the class more interesting.”

 

Kevin CosgroveKevin Cosgrove, five years at WCC, sociology

“I like helping the students see different points of view and showing them the connection with what they are learning here and how it applies to the outside world. I hope they walk away from my class with critical thinking instead of having them memorize names, dates or statistics. We talk about stuff that happens in the real world. I want them to have more than just the facts. I treat my students as adults and equals. I try to be open and honest with them because I want the students to be able to express their opinions in class. I rely a lot on class discussion. I also try to make the class fun and interactive because I’ve noticed that the students learn better when they like what they are learning.”

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