by Jose Morales
I can’t believe it has been three years. Three years. That is one year short of a presidential term. Yes, it is hard to believe I have been working at the ELLS for so long, yet It all makes sense in retrospect. I have worked at the learning centers since sophomore year, back when I lived in a tiny apartment (yet waaaaaaaaay cleaner than my current house) and my parent’s had just given me my bicycle as an early birthday present. Kristen still had her office in Wilson Hall, and she did not know yet that she was allergic the the iconic building. It was back in that office where I had my very first job interview, and yes, fortunately I scored the job.
It was Friday November the 9th, and I was getting recognized for being a valuable tutor. I had never thought of myself as “valuable” or “outstanding”, let alone a “servant leader”, and yet as I was being recognized in the tutor recognition ceremony, I couldn’t help but to feel a little sense of pride on myself. Not selfish pride, rather something along the lines of a more healthy feeling–perhaps, content. Working at the ELLS has been a great opportunity for me to grow as an individual, as a student and as a future professional. I’ve presented at conferences, I’ve ridden a train to Baltimore in “business casual” attire, I have talked with the Deans of JMU, I have represented the learning centers at multiple events and trust me, it all feels pretty good.
And yet, the award is not all about me. I have to thank JMU and the Learning Centers and Kristen for being quite simply: awesome. I wouldn’t have done any all of those things if it had not been for the opportunity they gave me to embody one of the roles I admire the most : that of a teacher.
And so to that I say, thank you. Thanks to all who have come to me eager to learn something new. No award means more than an honest “thank you” at 6 PM when the lights of Taylor Down Under have dimmed and It’s time to pack up my “English Conversation Club” sign within the messy insides of my backpack.