Gina is currently finishing her last semester in pursuit of her MA degree in English literature at the University of South Dakota. She works as a teaching assistant, teaching full sections of freshman composition and introduction to literature.
WHAT YOU DO • • • I've always loved reading, writing, and studying English literature as well as teaching it. Writing and reading and thinking are some of the most fundamentally important skills for college students no matter what discipline they enter. I am always amazed at how much students learn from me during the foundational courses I teach. At this point, I've already taught over 130 students! It's a lot of work and time, but getting to know the students and hearing later how much they believe they've improved in writing through taking my courses is definitely rewarding.
WHAT INSPIRES YOU • • • In order to succeed in teaching, I have had to draw on the methods and ideas of Bethany professors. I would never be able to teach grammar without Dr. Hanna, and I have stolen at least one or two of Professor Johnson's instructional modes for teaching literature. Classes with Professor Bloedel for my theater minor also gave me more than enough tools to teach the drama genre with a twist of performance. I can't forget to mention painting courses with Professor Bukowski. Painting metaphors work really well for teaching writing strategies and getting students to imagine texts visually. I also use paintings to teach the poetry genre, so the students have a non-threatening way to discuss a poem by thinking about it through the lens of another artwork. My students always enjoy my stories from my art trip to Italy, and various teaching methods I learned from my professors during my time abroad in London works its way into my classes. Getting a broader perspective of the world has definitely prepared me to teach all kinds of literature.
HOW BETHANY HAS PREPARED YOU • • • Bethany allowed me to explore Christian writers and their works, which sparked my goal to eventually publish in the area. Bethany's perspective on life and learning is unique, and I am not sure I would have dared to take on the challenge of writing and publishing in an unpopular area (in most of academia) without the encouragement and support I received at Bethany.
WHAT YOU REMEMBER MOST • • • I remember the long nights in the painting studio jamming out to the radio when hardly anyone was left, rehearsing Romeo and Juliet with the best group of people to spend time with, locking myself away in the little hobbit closet in the old Communications Center to put together issues of Inkwell (Bethany's literary magazine), presenting my senior project on Christian writers, studying with my roommates on the Green, ordering superfries with countless Bethany students at the Tav, talking to friends in the V (Viking Village) all night, and meeting my fiance during my very first semester. It may not be one thing, but it's all in one sentence!
ADVICE FOR CURRENT STUDENTS • • • Take full advantage of everything Bethany has to offer. Bethany's size allows students to make things happen. For example, Bethany's study abroad program is very flexible in letting students search for their own programs to fit their own needs, while working with them to accommodate the credits earned abroad. There is also a lot of flexibility in what students can choose to study, research, or work on independently under faculty guidance. The people and connections are completely invaluable. I believe that Bethany connections run very deep and can offer a support system like none of the other larger or state institutions.