By Laura Dyer (’17)
My name is . . . Dr. Becky Louise Thompson.
I’ve been teaching at NGU since . . . 2002.
My job is . . . The coordinator for secondary education in English Language Arts and the coordinator for freshman English and sophomore literature. I write all the materials for the freshman English courses. I write all the tests and the syllabi. And then, of course, I teach. But I think most of all, I’m almost like a counselor. I know that God places people in my classes. I think the freshman classes are the heart of what I do. I think an English teacher is the best kind of teacher. We get opportunities nobody else gets. We can get students from all the majors, when they’re brand new, and it gives me an opportunity to teach them to be a good communicator. I want to teach them that their voice is valuable. The heart of it comes down to teaching them that English is worthwhile, you have something to say, and I’m gonna help you say it more effectively.
When I’m not grading papers . . . I like to watch movies. I do read an awful lot. I have family in town, which of course is wonderful. But again, a lot of it’s reading! I revisit characters. I’ve studied them enough, and I’ve studied their authors enough to learn lessons from them.
Some of my fun classroom traditions are . . . Sometimes, I’ll take a class on a field trip. I’ve gone to Carl Sandburg’s house with American Lit II. My students really like to do the sentence activity. We’ll sit in a circle, everybody gets a piece of paper, and I give them each a different sentence, and you pass the papers and make stories out of them.
And I always take pictures of my classes. I get a lot of students for that one period of time: thirteen, fourteen weeks, couple times a week. And I put a lot of thought into this. This is my ministry. What I do is English; I feel like it’s what I was born to do. And in those three or four months, that’s my chance to make an impact. And I take the picture because I would love to think that, when a student leaves my classroom, he or she is different because of knowing me. Not just because of me, but knowing and seeing Christ in me. And I want to have a memento of sorts.
My favorite spot on campus is . . . White Hall. It smells like home, and I like the creaky floors.
I knew I wanted to be a college professor when . . . I never thought about teaching college until I actually did it [as a grad assistant]. But I do love teaching college, and I know it’s a calling. [College students] are inquisitive, and they’re finding their voice. And it’s such a rewarding experience to witness them figuring out who they are and where they’re going.
What motivated me to teach was . . . I’ve always wanted to teach. I’ve wanted to teach since I was in second grade. I loved playing school when I was a little kid with my brothers who were younger than me. I would sit them down, and Mom says I would do everything but tie them up to pretend to do lessons.
I decided to join the NGU family because . . . God uprooted me. It was the only time in my life I really didn’t know what I was going to do. When I left Northland — it’s in the upper peninsula of Wisconsin — it’s a beautiful place: mountains, forests, and deer everywhere. And when I left, I was crying and crying and my sister wanted to know why, and I said, “I’m never going to teach anywhere beautiful [again].” And it wasn’t even two weeks later that I was driving to Tigerville for the first time, drove on campus, and I got out of my car, and I immediately looked towards those mountains. Even before I’d spoken to a person, I knew [this] was where I was going to be.
My teaching motto is . . . I pray that I see each one, I listen to each one, I recognize each one. I want to know their names as soon as possible, because if you know someone’s name, they have an identity. I want to see them as individuals so that I know how important they are. I have to remember that every kid that’s in my class is connected to a group of people who love him and value him. And if I can just keep that in mind, it can transform my teaching.
Dr. Becky Thompson’s complete Q&A will be published in the fall edition of the North Greenville University Magazine scheduled to mail December 2017.