The Reason I am Here

By Jerelyn Champine
Adjunct Instructor, Sign Language

Community colleges provide students with skills that will allow them to be successful in their chosen profession. In addition, they provide students with a high level of education with smaller class sizes. Although many students might transfer to a four-year university, most will start and complete their college education at a two-year university.

I am devoted to maintaining high standards of education, being current in my skills, and a role model for students being lifelong learners. Students learn best in an active, non-disruptive learning environment. They deserve respect from their professors and peers. It is my duty to create a positive learning environment. Anytime we learn a new task, it can be difficult and sometimes one might not realize the challenges until fully immersed. This is exactly how it is in any field of study at any college. I teach in the dental hygiene program and my students have a range of diversity and academic skill levels.

One day in clinic as I was working with Kandy, I could see her struggling to adapt her instrument to her patients’ tooth. As I observed her, I offered to sit down and try to show her the proper technique. Being a hygienist for nineteen years, I sometimes forget how to explain techniques to students. Sitting down and working through the clinical steps myself is more beneficial for the student, and I can show and explain to them how we adapt the instrument to a certain area. After the demonstration, I had Kandy sit down and try to mimic what I was demonstrating to her. This is when I realized that Kandy was not using her mirror properly which would throw her instrumentation off. As I continued to observe and see that she was still struggling, I offered her a suggestion that would correct the placement of her mirror. This is when the light bulb went on and Kandy realized that it was the position of the mirror that prohibited her from adapting the instrument. Once she corrected, she was able to see what she was doing. Students build on their clinical skills from day one. No matter which semester the student is in, they can forget the basics. Watching Kandy improve her skills was very rewarding and reminded me of why I am here. Just as the students are learning, I am also learning and adapting to aid students in achieving success.