From Engineer to English Teacher


My cousin worked many years as an engineer before being laid off in a fashion that was devastating and life changing. He moped around for a while crying in his beer and living off his severance pay.

He was a classical nerd in the sense that he was talented at solving difficult problems,  very weak at explaining what he was doing or verbalizing how he was tackling, for example, a fluid flow problem in a refinery. He used a ladder logic program that only he understood well enough to benefit his employer.

So the extended family was quite concerned if he would land on his feet finding gainful and fulfilling employment in the technical realm. Imagine our surprise and shock when he declared that he wanted to be an English teacher! I mean my cousin was known to go a couple of days without taking a shower or brushing his teeth AND now he was suddenly motivated to work in a profession dominated by women who generally have an acute olfactory sense.

Enter the textbook that changed his life:

Levin, F. A., & McCullough, M.A.  (2012). Guide for alternate route teachers:  Strategies for literacy development, classroom management, and teaching and learning,k-12( 2nd ed.).  Upper Saddle River, New Jersey : Pearson Education, Inc.

I think he also used books by Kathleen Montgomery and Diane Hart that my sister had used coming straight out of college training to be an instructor.

His first course at a small University in southeastern New Mexico provided guidelines for alternative licensure teachers OR teachers who came from the real world wanting to quickly establish their credentials as a teacher. He was definitely an aspiring alternate route teacher despite the extreme skepticism and doubt of those closest to him.

He had to become familiar with the lexicon of the trade like tactile and kinesthic  learning styles, brain hemisphericity, formative assessment, authentic assessment, common core standards. He preferred reading to listening, so the book by Levin and McCollough became his bible for around two years.

We lost touch with cousin due to a family feud, but I Google him and he appears to be doing well as a teacher in Albuquerque, NM working near what was Pollos(Meth distributor front(black man who also starred in Do the Right Thing by Spike Lee)) in Netflix series Breaking Bad.

Finally, cuz was not that great at expressing affection or appreciation, but had deep respect for the professor at the small University in Portales named Jack Hartford or it may have been Harmon. I don’t think he ever met the professor face to face because the training was distance learning over the internet I believe.  Fascinating that strong bonds and respect can be created nowadays without even knowing what somebody looks like or sounds like! If you read this Jack, I hope you will reply as I am sure cuz would like to know how you are doing.


17 comments on “From Engineer to English TeacherAdd yours →

  1. This sound like the program at ENMU Portales that I was in almost 2 years ago. Some good caring teaches. Dr Mary Daughrity was slow grading assignments, but a caring and respectful woman. Not too high on herself for having a PHD.

    1. My daughter is also taking a class from Professor Daughrity. She says instructor has not graded anything in 5 weeks. We are paying over $800 for that kind of poor service! Will call president of ENMU to get her ass in gear if necessary!!

      1. Daughrity is bad about taking forever to get assignments graded. I had her face to face for traditional class, not online. She knows she drags ass and is fair about the way she grades. A caring woman.

        1. I had Assistant Professor Kathie Good for SPED 539 Classroom and Behavior Management. She is cool and hip. Dug the way she was so chill. She was great about getting all your assignments and stuff punctually graded unlike some of the profs at ENMU portales. Its a pisser when teacher does not grade your stuff, especially that blackboard thing they have where they just copy the same syllabus from semester to semester and dont even know when due dates are or even what they damn assignments are….its like they just copied from another teacher without taking the time to read it themselves and then count off if you dont obey the shit to the letter of the law! But Kathie Good is still the Bomb!

          1. Happy to have stumbled upon this website which pays tribute to an outstanding teacher. I used to work at Central New Mexico Community College and had the great pleasure of calling educators like Dmitri Morenike(Mount Vernon Home Boy and sin city connoisseur)
            ,Steven Severance, Wayne Bodmer, Lucas Holmquist, TerryLynn Vigil(a teacher teaching teachers) my colleagues. I had to leave due to circumstances beyond my control, but will always remember these fine folks. Not all CNM employees had the same dedication doing only the bare minimum to take home their paycheck. Some were also difficult to work with and rude.

          2. I know somebody named Sherry Stine or maybe her name is Sherie Stein who I believe took a course from her. She was complaining to some people about the condition of a COPY of the book used in a class she took online. I was thinking DAMN GIRL. You did not have to pay for it…..PLEASE. Jeez, I hope you don’t have that kind of attitude in front of your students.I mean, LIKE, you sound just like the sniveling kids in my class room that complain about having to read a real book! Yo, listening to somebody complain about the paper being to Thin on a free book is all too common among today’s entitlement culture!!

          3. Yes Kathie lives up to her last name, but have any of you taken Geni Flores for anything? That woman does not realize she is teaching a distance learning course. She does not use blackboard! I had her around 2 years ago for BLED something and she had us sending assignments to her email. She would not accept stuff in blackboard like she is obligated to. She needs to get with tech support to learn how to use it. You never know what your grade is and she does not grade fairly.

            1. I am surprised she is still getting away with not posting your grades on blackboard. You don’t know your grade until the end of the semester. She tells you she is giving you credit for your work, but it’s not recorded anywhere. So you don’t have time to fix your grade the way Flores runs the class. I had to drive around 800 miles to satisfy class requirements. She loses crap in her email and won’t confirm receiving stuff from you.

            2. Right, the other alternative licensure teachers ALL post assignments on blackboard and make it easy for students to submit assignments in blackboard. Flores should be better at technology so we can see our grades on blackboard. I am surprised that portales does not require her to use blackboard as LMS.

              Also she requires you to give up 4 and half hours on a Saturday around thanksgiving. She needs to professionally grow past the point of the dinosaur our kids call email.

              She is a knowledgeable lady and you will learn from her.

    2. Estephanie Mendes, angry Marguerite Frechette were disgusted at the false active shooter alert that happened in portales. Campus scuttlebutt was a loner male student was pleasuring himself in bathroom stall after activating false alarm which apparently sexually stimulated him. Similar to erotic feelings enjoyed by some arsonists while people are panicing in fire they ignited. Pyromaniacs can actually orgasm under some circumstances.

      1. Wrestler Hunter Medina of Aztec High School praised his substitute teacher for her role in protecting students from shooter who shot his brains out after killing two students.

  2. My daughter took a course from Wally Thompson who is a nice man, but it looked like he just used another teachers syllabus and did not really even know what was on it. The instructions on the syllabus for the assignments were sometimes unclear and vague and he was hard to reach frustrating many members of the class. He was very fair about the way he graded though.Cody Mullins and another member of the class helped her quite a bit and she mangaged to get through it after a lot of unnecessary time spent.

    1. My daughter’s teacher Bethany Spratley is the kindest most helpful and generous teacher I have known for all my kids. She is so sincere. We just love her!! My high security clearance job does not give many opportunities to visit my progeny’s educators and I hope she is the type that googles her name so she will know just how much of difference she is making.

      Corley of west Mesa high in Albuquerque another exemplary educator. she is consistently rated highly effective and has unparalleled verve and compassion for her students

      1. A little farther north, Melanie Martinez
        a K/1 Teacher at Mountain View School District
        Missoula, Montana Area, is one of the most
        inspiring educators. My little girl loves her!
        Keep up the good work Ms Martinez!!

        Also a lot of respect for retired teacher,Thom Votaw, who asks Christian retired teachers to rearrange their life to spread the word of our lord Jesus Christ to those who are on the fence or struggling with their spirituality. Thom relates some stories of educators who did NOT retire a satified person from their particular school district. Yes politics leads to as much nastiness in the teaching profession as it does the sometimes brutal corporate world.

    2. There are way to many talented professors like adjunct Sonia Sanchez-Cuesta teaching at Santa Fe Community College. The adjuncts frequently have intense verve and passion for their craft! What gives with paying them a pittance? She gives her all despite being paid a pauper’s income! Pay professors what they are worth before you lose them all!!

      Read more about adjunct discrimination from following higher ed anonymous post:

      I have repeatedly experienced discrimination as an adjunct. Are my experiences typical or not? Adjunct discrimination happens when full-time positions are available. I think long-term adjuncts should be told about job openings in a department in which they have successfully taught and be interviewed for positions for which they are qualified.

      Max Lewontin wrote about the unjust treatment of PHD contingent adjunct professor Miranda Merklein. She stated adjunct teachers are scared to death of bad student evaluations to the point of lowering their teaching standards. Also allegations of jealous tenured teachers influencing the termination of high quality adjunct educators has fueled the flames!

    3. Dr Thompson, if it is the same professor of literacy, is a motorcycle dude who shaped the careers of many aspiring educators like Shelby Lucero, Hannah McAlister, Haley Templeton, Erika Montez,Monique Molina, Chloe Nance, Lynn Kellogg, and Samantha Reyes. All these fantastic educators have the amiable bearded ENMU Portales educator to credit for their remarkable achievements in the Albuquerque School District!

    4. I want to thank Crystal Cuaron for the non teaching stuff you did for my daughter. Our family was going through difficult times with my old man abandoning us and financial and all. Miss Crystal Cuaron was there they whole way when my baby was struggling academically! I know teachers have to spend so much time with administrative hassles, etc, but you helped us over the hump both emotionally and intellectually….thanks for everything! Wish I could say more, but my ex is a nut case psycho.

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