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Transformation by Sheila Pope


Getting Ready for Work at Texas Southern University

Today, I felt the need to blog. I felt the need to share my perspective on a topic that is scary and challenging. Transformation or change is hard. I attended a conference last week with the goal of learning how to transform my students into successful writers and successful students. During the conference, I made the statement, “I am a good teacher”. I could feel the participants’ eyes upon me when I made that declaration. I was asked by the facilitator did I really mean to say I was good? I boldly stated, “I came to the conference a good teacher; but, I expected to grow as a result of what I learned from the conference”. I wanted to learn more things to help me pilot a new pilot program in developmental education.

I have been piloting a hybrid WRIT 101 class for two years. This semester, I wrote an eBook, “Writing Essentials for Freshmen English and the THEA” (publisher Great River Technologies) to supplement the course. The eBook is now our published adopted course book. During the pilot, my students will have the opportunity to transform the contents of the book; they will have the opportunity to transform my writing skills. I constantly open myself up for students to judge me daily. However, it is scary to open up your work for students and your peers to judge.

The facilitator said I was a different type of person. I agreed with the facilitator! I am different. I love a challenge. I refuse to run from a challenge. However, I must admit, change is hard for me just like it is for others. I am challenging myself to continue to listen to the still voice in my heart and head; I am challenging myself to act on my heart’s desires and limit my excuses for not accomplishing my goals. More important, I am determined not to over extend myself this semester. I am going to spread the message of excellence and balance to my students and my friends. I want my students to desire to excel beyond being “good” at writing. I want them to desire to excel in every aspect of their life. More important, I want other females of all races, especially African-Americans, to face their fears and to declare to the world that they are good at something! Believe it or not, it takes courage to say you are good and not back down from verbal messages that tell you otherwise. I want my students to avoid drinking from the cup of mediocrity.

I have started my journey to transformation by starting my internship with the Student Health Service Center. I attended the first staff meeting and learned about several exciting programs and services that I could take part in this semester. I learned that I can collaborate and serve students on campus in different capacities. I have to accept change in my personal and professional skills to fully embrace my transformation. I am going to learn new skills while I work in the Student Service Health Center.

I am scared and excited. I am opening myself up to work with a new team of people. My goal is to work with a team of people who have skills that I desire to learn. Again, I am comfortable in my writing lab. I know my area. Now, I am going to see how to serve students with mental health needs outside of my comfort zone. I am going to have elevate my counseling skills. More important, I am going to have to let others see the less confident side of me. I feel empowered when I share information. I hope to empower my students this semester. I expect to see each of them transform into “different” types of learners while I transform into a better professor and counselor.

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