Ask a Professor

With Heather Moulton, English and Literature Instructor

Heather Moulton, Professor of English and Literature

Ask a Professor with Heather Moulton, English and Literature Instructor

Question: How involved are you in your students’ education? – Cheyenne Dickey

Answer: This is a tricky question, Cheyenne! I fear I’ll either come off as a helicopter teacher or a neglectful parent – creepy either way. I’ll go with the vanilla-Goldilocks answer: I feel I’m involved “just right.” My job is to present every opportunity possible to students to enable them to succeed in my (all) classes. To accomplish that, I never miss class (unless planned well in advance), I hold office hours, I answer hundreds of emails every week, grade hundreds of assignments (in a timely manner, thank you!) each semester, and I repeatedly let my students know I’m there for them. I’m actually quite sure I spend more time being involved with my students than I spend anywhere or with anyone else – does that make me a helicopter teacher?

Question: What real life experience are you bringing into the classroom? – Kaira Cortez

Answer: Great question, Kaira! I actually started at a community college (Chaffey College) in Rancho Cucamonga, CA after high school. I attended there part-time while working full-time, and after 3 years, I received my Associate of Arts degree. Because I had to work to pay for classes, it took me longer than the “standard” 2 years to earn the degree; I can certainly relate to people who have to work and go to school. I also wanted to maintain a high GPA, so I only ever took 3 classes at a time – I graduated with a 3.79. I also went through the transfer process to a university (UC Riverside). Like the students here at CAC, I had choices about which school I could attend; I finally decided on UCR after talking to advisors from the area universities and friends who were attending the universities. I have never regretted my decision as my Bachelor of Arts degree in the English program was challenging and fun. Outside of school, I also bring a number of years of “real life” experience, which — I hope — allows me to relate to and/or empathize with my students (on some level; every year, the generation gap gets a little wider).

Question: When graduation comes along, do professors find it difficult or saddening to see their students moving on so soon? – Cameryn Fossell

Answer: Are you trying to make me cry, Cameryn? Actually, at this time of year I cry both melancholy and joyful tears. Of course, I’m sad to see so many of my students and Phi Theta Kappa members leave – in some cases, I’ve spent 2 or more years with them and I feel like a member of my family is saying good-bye. On the other hand, I am elated and so proud to see people finishing a chapter in their lives, and I’m excited for their next chapter, whether it’s the university or a career or traveling, etc. I cannot be greedy; I have to let my darlings fly! Each graduation is also the end of a chapter in my life, and every fall, I have the renewed joy of meeting a new batch of minds ready for learning.

Final thoughts: “You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. You are the guy [or gal] who’ll decide where to go.” – Dr. Seuss, “Oh the Places You’ll Go”


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