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No. 6: Daddy come home

April 16, 2017

A list of the top 10 memorable issues of student publications during my teaching career.

When I started teaching at Cerritos College in January 1997 my family was still living up in the Santa Cruz area. I was trying to learn the college and establish myself in the adviser role, so I was working 18-hour days. One night shortly after I started I dragged myself home to my lonely, sparsely furnished apartment about 10 p.m. I hadn’t eaten and was hungry. I was tired.

Shortly after coming in the phone rang. I answered and my four-year-old daughter whined into the phone on the other end, “Daddy, I want you to come home…RIGHT NOW!” I felt like shit and my heart ached. I didn’t sleep well that night.

That first semester was difficult, but it was clear I had made the right decision to leave West Valley College after 16.5 years. A couple of years earlier the college had decided to eliminate its journalism program, but was willing to keep me as a computer applications instructor. While they released me for part of my load to continue to advise the student newspaper –on a semester-by-semester basis—I wanted to be a journalism teacher.

I flew home weekends, or the family would join me, for that first semester. Come summer we bought a house down here and moved. It was a rough patch of my life, but it made me a better instructor. It helped that I had such great students and a wonderful lab aide in Nancy Ballard.

PREVIOUSLY: 10: The execution, 9: We don’t need no headlines, 8: The student who died, 7: It was just a matter of time

NEXT UP: 911

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