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KCC Faculty on Teaching

KCC Faculty on Teaching

Tanya M. Johnson

How did you get into teaching?
I got into teaching truly by happenstance. Like most, I was on a search engine looking for a job. What I didn’t know at that point was that I was embarking on completely changing my career. I reflect on the day of my interview regularly…everything imaginable was going wrong, until I came on campus and, in that moment, I knew I was supposed to be here.

What career did you imagine for yourself when you were in college?
Since I didn’t complete college until my early 30’s and I was already on the management/directorial track in hospitality, I sought to advance myself, at some point, to the position of hotel or general manager.

What do you love about teaching?
I enjoy influencing the future of an industry that has been an integral part of my life and development. To be in hospitality requires humility, professionalism, patience, creativity, and empathy among other traits. Getting others to interweave these and other characteristics to become change agents for an industry that is as ancient, but constantly evolving is a total rush.

What’s your favorite teaching experience?
My favorite teaching experience thus far was when I was able to chaperone students to Disney World to participate in their onsite leadership training. Having my students gain insight from an organization that is renowned for its service, hospitality, and influence was magnificent.

In what ways do you bring your professional experience into the classroom?
Oftentimes, I use experiences had as a foundation for discussion and debate in class.  It allows students to understand there are numerous ways to resolve issues. As the department’s club advisor in the past, I’ve also used my contacts to create panels and to invite speakers that offer real-world knowledge based on current occurrences in industry, rather than just theoretical details found in textbooks.

What advice do you have for current students?
My advice would be to go beyond textbooks and lectures. The lessons the collegiate experience can offer include social development, networking, leadership skill building, and so much more, all within an environment that’s supportive and focused on helping those within in it to achieve maturation.