Life often presents us with opportunities to test the limits of our drive. Some charge at them blindly, others shrug them off in fear or uncertainty. I will always recognize my experience with Connect Your Community as the one that taught me to jump.
Acquiring my job with CYC is one of the most serendipitous events of my life. An aspiring English professor down on his luck, I turned to the local job leads section of the newspaper for some temporary economic solace. Laid out before me was a myriad of job opportunities ranging from medical assistant, to retail sales associate, to 911 call center operator. Ever the logical thinker, I quickly concluded that those jobs don’t fall into any niche with which I’m comfortable… Then I saw it: “Opening for Local Computer Instructor.” The mental gears started turning: “I love computers, and I want to teach. Maybe this merits some investigation.” Dusting off my old copy of Roget’s Thesaurus, I glued myself to my laptop and constructed my best resume to date. Long story short, I got the job that could very well shape my future career.
Needless to say, being a CYC computer instructor is about far more than just teaching classes. It also involves interpersonal communication between students, co-workers and supervisors; marketing tactics aimed toward program promotion; sustainable broadband adoption retention strategies; governmental paperwork and file management; and the synthesis of supplemental curriculum. I had very little experience in any of these areas, but the patience and confidence of my co-workers and supervisors built me up. The first month or so was a learning curve of epic proportions, but my patience and perseverance enabled me to catch on quickly.
Looking back after a year’s work with CYC, I have created my own little empire in Perry County, OH. Having developed five extraordinary sites (with 16 total classes), I have helped turn 182 digitally-distant citizens from my own neck of the woods into fully capable sustainable broadband adopters. Along the way I have designed supplemental classroom curriculum from the ground up, and created countless marketing flyers, and assisted in the orchestration of the office-wide “Distribution Days,” which involved the sale of subsidized computers to CYC graduates. The skills and experiences I have obtained working with this project are both transferable and durable; therefore, they will stick with me for life.
I recently obtained employment as an instructor at Ohio University-Zanesville. I educate incoming freshman on mastering the university experience, embellishing study skills, leadership, goal setting, course scheduling, diversity, etc. I also work as a professional tutor, where I can help students with their writing skills via supplemental instruction. Because CYC did not require a teaching license, I was able to “test drive” my abilities and hone them at a comfortable pace. Do not mistake “comfort” with “superficiality;” without the help of Connect Your Community, I may have never mustered the self-confidence to conduct my leap of faith into my career path.
From the bottom of my heart, I sincerely thank all my supervisors, co-workers, students and professional contacts for believing in my abilities and pushing me to be my absolute best.