Instructor's Positive Influence Wins Recognition

Article excerpt

Byline: Meta L. Levin Daily Herald Correspondent

When College of Lake County English instructor Mary Winter was finishing her master's degree, she wrote to thank one particular instructor who had influenced not only her studies, but her teaching style.

Later she learned that the professor had been honored by her students as a top faculty member. Not long ago, Winter heard from some former students that she had influenced their teaching styles. On May 16 she will speak at the CLC commencement exercises as the 1998 Outstanding Faculty Member - chosen by CLC students.

"This year a lot of students have told me they supported me for the award, which is very nice," Winter said. "The nicest thing is that I have been here long enough that I have students who have gone on to study English. Some tell me that they like the way I taught and have patterned their teaching after me."

What goes around, comes around.

Winter, who believes she is the first English teacher to win the award from CLC, began teaching at the college full time in 1991. She had earned a master's degree in English from Indiana University, then moved up here with her husband and family, taught at CLC for a year as a replacement for an instructor who was on medical leave, then spent a year at Elgin Community College, before returning to CLC.

"I have been very happy here," she said. "I really love the student population. The students are here because they really want to learn. I think we have a wonderful diversity of age and people from different walks of life. I really enjoy my colleagues and the administration has been very supportive."

When Winter walks into a classroom, her goal is to do for the students what her favorite professor did for her - help them learn to like and become enthusiastic about the subject. Winter admits she was dreading a required course in John Milton while she was a graduate student. She finally registered for it with reluctance.

"I thought it was going to be the most boring course in graduate school," she said. …