I grew up at Beaver Lake in a communal setting with five other families in the Pine Barrens of southern New Jersey.
I earned my BA in English and Theater from the University of Maryland, just outside of Washington DC, during a time of massive young people’s political activism against the war in Vietnam, against nuclear armament and energy, and for the opening up of many kinds of personal freedom. It was a time when music was inspiring, beautiful, and an integral part of life. It was a time of great hope and the joy of community. It was a wonderful time to be young and full of energy.
I worked, saved my money, and hitchhiked through Europe with my girlfriends. I ended up staying in what was then West Germany and, after teaching myself German by reading a lot and listening carefully, dictionary in hand, I was soon accepted to the University of Tubingen. From that illustrious old university, I earned, tuition-free (all education was free—a right guaranteed in the German Constitution) my six-year post-graduate degree in German, Education, and American Studies.
I also enjoyed the 100% coverage of Germany’s subsidized health care system, never paying any money out of pocket or needing to worry about not being able to pay for treatment if I should get sick.
To earn money, I had various translation jobs and taught English for IBM and the German/American Institute and, eventually, taught German full time at an educational venue similar to our community colleges.
Back in the U.S., I earned a Washington State Teaching Certification. I taught a year of German at North Mason High School on the Olympic Peninsula, commuting about six hours each day, which was a testament to my love of teaching. At the end of that commitment, however, I looked for work closer to my home in Bellevue.
I began to teach English at Bellevue Community College in 1991. In 1996, I also began teaching English at Shoreline Community College, as well as German a couple of years later, which I did until budget constraints terminated much of Shoreline’s foreign language program.
In spite of many years of service, I continue to teach at both institutions with only a part-time contract, an unfortunate situation with which many working people are familiar in many walks of life in the U.S.
I continue to love my profession.