Ideas at Work: Benefits of Community Colleges

  • Mary Kate Terrell

    May 7, 2024 at 4:46 pm

    I think his point about students potentially not being prepared for the entry standards at a 4 year school is a major component of what I find myself doing in with my students today.

    Hi. I am Mary Kate Terrell and I teach social science gen ed courses at UAPTC in Central Arkansas. Over my two + decades of teaching at 4 institutions, I have noticed an increasing need to be my students’ nanny in addition to advancing their knowledge.

    I often feel that high schools do not bridge the gap needed between junior high and community college. Many of the lessons I plan include basic thinking and reasoning skills that are very low on Bloom’s and it seems to me high schools are not preparing students properly.

    We are very good at my institution at provide students with “a soft place to land” as a former department chair of mine said once. However, we are too soft at times in my opinion. I base that on former student feedback that I get in informal ways when they contact me after their first few semesters at their transfer school and express their stress levels and lack of preparedness even after our community college awarded them an associate’s degree.

    I worry about it. i fight to improve standards and bring students to their full potential, but I am discouraged at times.

    Perhaps building a community in this environment to lean on each other for ideas and motivation is just what I need to reinvigorate my zeal in the classroom. My students are such special people and I want their success. I want to be the best I can be to facilitate that.

    • Barbara Rodriguez, PhD

      May 8, 2024 at 12:21 pm

      Mary Kate, you’ve made some excellent points in your post. I think you’re spot on about finding the balance where community college’s serve as a “soft spot to land” while also preparing students to transfer. I’ve taught at the community college level for 27 years, so I “get where you’re coming from.” In this group, we can serve as resources to each other by lamenting on occasion 🙂 and sharing examples of how we have met students where they were and effectively prepared them to transfer or prepared them for the workforce. While I may lament about my students more than I should, I would not want to teach at any other level. The community college is truly were dreams can come true!

      @mkterrelluaptc-edu We’ll focus on this discussion prompt for awhile as we wait for more of our community colleagues to engage.

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