The teacher files
Story and photo by Lily Shaver
Writing classes are a requirement around here and everyone has to take them. Knowing who you want as a teacher can be difficult. This interview with English instructor Ryan Davis highlights what he is about.
The Clackamas Print: How long have you been teaching at Clackamas Community College?
Ryan Davis: I started as a part-timer in 1997, and I’ve been teaching full time since 2006.
TCP: Do you have any family?
RD: I do, I do, I’m married and I have one son, who’s 9.
TCP: What do you enjoy most about teaching English?
RD: I love to be able to share some of the worlds and my own favorite authors with students in literature classes. I love to help people find their confidence in composition classes and their creative voice. I love being able to help people just find what they want to express and the best way to express it.
TCP: Who are your favorite authors?
RD: I’m a big fan of Raymond Carver, a poet and short story writer. One of my favorite international writers is Haruki Murakami from Japan.
TCP: So why do you like the writer from Japan?
RD: I lived in Japan for a few years and I was introduced to that author while I was there. I don’t know if it did make a difference or not, but being able to experience first-hand some of the types of situations, people and scenarios that Murakami wrote about, it was very interesting to be living those situations when I was reading about them because it’s totally foreign to you. So you’re able to just notice all the things in another culture you might not notice in your own.
TCP: What would you call your teaching style?
RD: My teacher style is very collaborative. I do a little bit of lecture and then I really like to open it up to questions and answers and get students talking about their interpretation of whatever topics. I just really like to get students involved, and kind of have them, by answering some of the questions that I offer them, allowing them to kind of help shape and guide our discussions in class.
TCP: Do you have any hobbies that you do outside of teaching?
RD: I’ve spent some time restoring a house I lived in and sold. I’m not a craftsman, but I do a lot of craft projects in terms of like home restoration. TCP: Is there anything that you like to do to relax and have fun?
RD: I love to hang out with my son. It’s always a big part of my life, my wife and son and I love to do activities together whether it’s going camping, hiking, just kind of relaxing. We love to watch movies. I’ve been playing a lot of Legos, ‘cause he’s 9 so that’s a guarantee.
TCP: What classes do you teach?
RD: Winter term, I’m teaching American Film which is a cross-listed English and DMC class, which is open to anyone. I’m teaching an online section of American Literature 2, from the turn of the 20th century to the present day. Then, in spring, I’m teaching one of our creative writing classes, Creative Non-fiction. I’m also teaching Nature Writing, which is a really fun course because we have the ability to come together as a class and go out into nature for a weekend long camping trip, which really fuels our, you know, ability to write about nature and our role in it. I’m also starting for the firsttime ever, an African American Literature course here on campus. It’ll be online.
TCP: Is there anything else you’d like to add?
RD: I always welcome anybody who’s never thought about a writing class beyond 121 or 122 to consider it, and creative writing, everybody has a voice inside them that longs to tell a story. I would love to mention of the English Department’s Associate of Science Degree in English. We have four concentrations in the A.S. degree: Creative Writing, Literature, Comic Studies, and Publishing