After spending the last six years living in North Portland, I am back in Longview now, thrilled to be joining the English Department at Lower Columbia College as an adjunct English Instructor. I will be teaching two English 101 classes starting fall term. This summer, I am finishing up my MFA in writing from The Rainier Writers’ Workshop, and learning to use online software to add media and links to the resources I will offer my classes.
I plan to use American working-class literature to help my students learn to write because the voices of American workers and their history is where my heart lies. My mom and her brothers were the first generation in her family to attend college. My grandma grew up in a lighthouse with her father, Captain Lind, and my grandfather left home at fourteen years old to go on to become a bootlegger, rancher, horse-breaker, and finally, the owner of a tavern in Jacksonville, Oregon. My uncle was an electrician, and my own father was a cabinet-maker and carpenter. I have worked so many different blue-collar jobs that I can barely remember all of them. In high school, I became a plant-potter in a greenhouse, and then went on to waitress for more than 10 years off an on. I’ve worked as a caregiver for mentally disabled men, driven cars around on shipping docks, and worked as a carpenter’s apprentice on Mt. St Helens’ bridge number nine. I was also a massage therapist and yoga teacher for more than ten years.
I realized as I turned in my transcripts to the Dean of Instruction at Lower Columbia College that this will be the first job I’ve ever been offered where I’ve needed to provide transcripts to my employer. The wage I will receive as a part-time adjunct instructor is also the highest paycheck I have ever received in my life, and I’ve been told that I will still qualify for food stamps! No matter, I still feel as if I will be living high on the hog!