Scottsdale Community College instructors talk about what drives them during National Teacher Appreciation Week


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Main entrance to Scottsdale Community College

Hannah Hamilton, Reporter

May 4-12 is National Teacher Appreciation Week. Though appreciation is shown all week, Tuesday is National Teacher’s Day.

Eleanor Roosevelt started celebrating National Teacher Day in 1953, when she convinced congress to spend a day recognizing teachers, and it has been celebrated every year since.

It’s a special time to share love and honor the teachers that educate us.

In recognition of the holiday, Northeast Valley News asked several Scottsdale Community College students their favorite teacher and then interviewed those instructors about what they enjoy about their profession.

While many students only spend a single semester with any particular teacher, it is evident that their impact can be profound.

Professor JamieLynn Cooner is residential faculty in the Forensic Science Department.  Cooner is compelled by her students.

“My students drive me to continue to learn and inspire me to improve. My students are making me a better human without knowing or realizing they are giving me anything. I hope to provide them with confidence and knowledge they did not have beforehand, which will serve them well in the future,” Cooner said.  “I am honored and beyond proud when my classes get lively, and they are excited about the information they are learning.  When the proverbial lightbulb illuminates, it’s a ‘proud mom’ moment, and I live for these moments. When they see the light, I can see my students’ pride in themselves, and I immediately want to celebrate their accomplishments.”

“Learning is challenging, and being wrong feels deflating, and unfortunately, learning is a lot of being wrong. However, when I challenge my students to accept being wrong and even become okay with it, they open up, and learning becomes enjoyable. If my students leave my class knowing that being wrong isn’t always bad and they can accept they will make mistakes, I know they learned and retained some of the information from class,” Cooner said. “Lastly, I am honored to get to know my students as people and not just students, and I consider myself lucky that they have chosen me to be one of their teachers.”

Professor Walter Olsen, Admin of Justice and Forensic Science Occupational Arts spent over three decades as a police officer.

“It is a privilege and honor to teach at Scottsdale Community College, where students can learn from faculty members with significant real-life work experience. I appreciate my students beyond words. My goal is to help students think for themselves, not to make them think like me,” Olsen said.

Residential Reading faculty member Professor Sara Cameron is also SCC’s Coordinator for Developmental Education.
“SCC embraces a culture of caring as a core philosophy of our community and there is no better place to show our community we care than in the classroom, Cameron said. “Teaching gives me a chance to give back to the student community and model grace, compassion, curiosity, and critical thinking.  Students understand our world is full of complex issues and come to our campus needing the academic challenge to change the world, but often are dealing with mental and emotional traumas as a result of factors and environments external to their academic work, which make it challenging to consistently demonstrate academic abilities.  Caring doesn’t mean lessening expectations.  When we show others we care, we create safe spaces to learn, grow, and achieve.  It is my role to meet each student where they enter, learn about their interests, and consider the connections between the body, mind, and spirit.  I get the opportunity to help navigate the growing complexity of literacy, communication, critical thinking, and the college experience while being compassionately cognizant of the pressures of external environments.”

“Teaching at SCC is a humbling, challenging, and worthy career.  There’s simply no better calling in life than being that person who cares, supports, and believes that students can and will persevere through their struggles to make great change in themselves and the world,” Cameron said.

Even though teacher appreciation week ends May 12, the appreciation continues year-round.