By: Chloe Gamber, Head Academic Writer
For this week, Professor Guida shared some insight about her time as a professor at McKendree. When asked about what she enjoys the most about teaching she said, “I love that I’m able to meet such a diverse group of students each semester. I remember one staff member used to have a map in her office that she would have students she worked with pin their hometowns on. It was such a great visual reminder that we work with students from all over—rural areas, major cities, various countries. For me, that has really pushed me as a teacher in the best way possible. How do I teach a short story, or cover letter writing or the argumentative essay to a group of students from all walks of life?”
She continues, “I also love the community at McKendree. When I was a full-time staff member I suffered a great loss, and I could not believe the outpouring of help and compassion I received. So many staff cooked meals for my family and delivered them to my house. I got cards of sympathy from, I swear, everyone on campus. The President, faculty I only occasionally and briefly interacted with, even the men’s soccer team. I still have all those cards, and it was because of the amazing community that I found the strength to return to work.”
Ms. Guida, also known as Ms. G, expresses a great emphasis on excitement for the courses she teaches. “I like to think the courses choose me—and I mean that in the best way possible. Every semester I think that I was meant to teach that group of students. My background is in literature, but I also teach Composition and Technical Writing classes. I often tell my class that I don’t expect them to fall in love with writing over the course of the semester. As much as I love movies, we aren’t living in one.
She continues to elaborate on her classes: “What I do hope is that each student leaves my class with a little more confidence. They may get assigned a 15-page essay in a future class and still groan because writing is not their favorite, but they no longer look at the page count and feel their hearts race, no longer get panicked thinking about finding resources. I want them to know that even if they hate the writing assignment they know they can do it. I teach resume and cover letter writing in a few classes, but I think other concepts I teach work their way into student careers as well. Most students still have to do research, communicate, think outside the box, no matter what career they go into. I always ask my first-year students to discuss how writing is used in their desired profession.
Ms. G reflects on an experience with one of her students: “I had one student on the first day of class say he wanted to be a professional football player, and I said “That’s fantastic; you’ll definitely need to communicate with teammates and the press, so the writing we do in this class will help with that communication.” The student is now a professional football player, and I would like to think his team thinks “Man, he must have had a great writing teacher.”
While taking Ms. Guida’s Interdisciplinary Pro/Tech course, I have definitely felt encouraged through writing. I feel that the assignments given helped me be in control of my own writing skills along with allowing me to learn more technical lessons such as copyright laws and different formattings of resumes for different careers.
Even with the course being remote, Ms. Guida has added her own special touches to the course with weekly soundtrack themes for the lessons! I have really appreciated the efforts she puts into her lessons and her overall dedication to her students.
When it comes to experiences while teaching, Ms.Guida has plenty to share! “I’ve had so many unique experiences! One time I created a syllabus for a Research and Writing class at another university. I decided to focus on my love of horror, so all the readings and items we watched in the class were horror themed. It’s a risky move as is. Not everyone likes scary stuff, and I had to figure out how to teach them argumentative writing through the horror genre without forcing them to write about that genre. I really took my time and planned what I thought was a great syllabus.
A few days before the semester began, I got an email stating that there was an English 2 class for non-native speakers that didn’t make it, so the two students enrolled in that class were being added to mine. I panicked! These two students were expecting an English class that was vastly different from the one I had planned. But they were great additions and had no problem sticking with my horror theme. I just had to make some minor adjustments in teaching as I went, but I’m used to improvising. In that very same semester, I noticed one of my students had the same last name as an actor who appeared in a couple horror movies when I was a teen (so of course I had a poster of him in my room back then). During introductions the student said her unique fact was that her cousin was an actor and was in a few horror films. Yep, they were related!”
Ms. Guida also has great qualities that her students and future students should know. “I’ve definitely got a reputation as the horror-loving teacher/friend/mom. I’ve met so many horror icons. I’ve met cast from almost every Freddy, Jason, Michael Myers movie. Tony Todd, who plays the original Candyman, was so sweet when we had our professional photo taken. He thought I ended up getting squeezed out of the photo, so he stopped the photographer, walked me up to the camera, and had me view the image to ensure I was happy with it. I tend to meet a lot of celebrities and do a lot of unique things. So much so that I’ll tell a story about an encounter or a new project and my friends will say “That’s so Bethany.”
She mentions her latest horror-related project: “My newest project that I fell into is doing test recipes for a Murder, She Wrote cookbook. I make old-fashioned recipes and take notes on things like the availability of ingredients or the overall readability of the recipe. I take pictures of every step of the process. Then I have to describe the taste of the dish and detail what it was like to make. I send all of that to the editor. It’s a fun way to blend my love of cooking and pop culture!” If you are lucky enough to be in one of Ms. Guida’s courses, you will definitely have exciting experiences while learning about.