After attending my own community college by driving to University of Michigan-Flint and then transferring to Eastern Michigan University for a bachelor's degree in English, I was hired at a national experimental school in Kendallville, Indiana: East Noble High School. A rural farming community, the better students had strong families at home; these students often got up at dawn or earlier to take care of farm chores before taking the bus to school.
From there, I taught at a private boys' preparatory school, Orchard Lake St. Mary's, back in Michigan. Many of the same issues that helped or plagued the students at East Noble were found in this bucolic setting by Orchard Lake, where often the wealth of the parent made no difference in the character of the young men.
Spurred to finish a master’s degree in English, after a year I returned to EMU.There I taught sections of freshman composition while finishing a master’s degree. I also taught for Ypsilanti Adult Education, working as a tutor.
After completing the master’s degree in English Language and Literature with a concentration in composition, I had two pathways open to me. One was a job offer from Bloomfield Public schools to teach English; the other was an offer to be a program writer at CBS/FOX Video, writing management training materials for instructional videos. Choosing the path that allowed me to use my writing, I worked at CBS/FOX for a year until laid off due to a corporate takeover attempt of CBS.
At that time, my wonderful mentor at EMU, Prof. Frank Ross, wrote me and mentioned community colleges as a good fit. Thirty-six years later, and now retired, I find that Frank was – as always – absolutely right.
Now, the next stage is to give back to the public from the experiences, lessons and education that provided me and my family – spouse Julie; and sons, Sam, and Scott – a wonderful life in Port Huron.
I know what is essential in education. The point of contact in a classroom between a teacher and student is the rock that drops in the pond. No question the ripples from that experience move out and touch the important support staff, our ever-efficient secretaries, as well as the IT staff, the advisors, counselors, financial aid staff and so many others, but we need to remember – and many Americans have found this out – that the point of contact between student and teacher is the most important experience in education and in the student’s collegiate success.
Anything that hinders that experience, that proves to be an obstacle, that runs contrary to the art and science of those teaching moments, needs to be removed from the equation. Conversely, anything that enhances or supports that teaching needs to be part of the educational process, be it the best in classroom technologies, the best that can be afforded in benefits and salaries, or the best verbal and material support for teachers that an administration can provide.
Being honored with three teaching awards during my time at St. Clair, I know what works for students in the classroom. I will do all I can to help other teachers follow their lights and best practices to help students in their learning journeys.
If you vote for me by mail or on November 3, you have my word, my trust, that I will do all I can to make SC4’s educational experience the best it can be for students.
- John Lusk