It’s teacher appreciation week in most of the United States, and since I think a great deal about the teachers I have had over the years, I decided to try to write about some of them this week. By no means is this a comprehensive list. But I continue my posts with one of the ones who had made an impact on my life.
Today, I want to talk to you about one of my college professors.
I went to a small Christian college for my Bachelor’s degree, where I majored in Secondary Social Science. I loved learning about all of the social sciences I was required to take for my degree, but I adored certain elective classes as well.
Professor Cora Alley was my professor for two of those classes. First, I had her for Introduction to Drama, the class I chose to take to fulfill my humanities requirement for my degree. Unlike my public speaking classes, or even the drama class I took in high school, I never felt awkward when I was performing skits or impromptu performances in the drama class. She helped me to hone the story-tale way of inflecting my voice while speaking, almost like a choir or band director teaches piano and forte.
I then took her class titled “Myth, Fantasy, and Imagination in Literature” to fulfill one of my free electives. It was an advanced level class filled with a great deal of paper writing and reading, but enjoyable and one of the impetuses that spurred me into thinking that writing fiction, and fantastical fiction at that, was something I could conceivably do.
Professor Alley introduced me to the wonderment of fantasy literature in a way I could never have expected. She also introduced me to the classical fictions writers. J. R. R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, George MacDonald, Madeleine L’Engle and others became fixtures in class and discussions and we were encouraged to read as much of them as we could. I had read The Hobbit and The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe long before I even thought about going to college, but now I was reading the rest of their works and more and falling in love with them. The class also was challenged to help write a novel-length book that highlighted the hero’s journey as a group project, a project my college friends and I STILL talk about twenty years later. Like most of my other English teachers, Professor Alley had great things to say about my writing voice. She also challenged me to perfect it and polish it, something I am still strive to do.
She will also be fondly remembered for her distaste of clicking pens and her off the wall questions. She was and probably still is quite a character. She knew how to stay magical.
Even college professors deserve to remember for their commitment to teaching and their love of students. While I haven’t spoken much to Professor Alley since I left college twenty years later, her words of wisdom and her encouragement still stick with me. She opened my eyes to the magic within the mundane and the fantastical stories that reside in every single person, if only they knew where to look.
Write your own story.
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3 thoughts on “Favorite Teachers: Professor Alley”
I’m with her on the repetitive clicking of pens…and off the wall questions really fire up the imagination! She sounds like a wonderful teacher 💞💞💞
She’s still teaching, though she’s also semi-retired. She got in touch with me via email after I sent her the link to the post to tell me that. It[‘s wonderful that I am able to get in touch with so many of my former teachers through the power of the internet and let them know how wonderful they were for me!
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I can only imagine what an uplift that gives them and how it fills their heart to have made such an impact on even one student 💞💞💞