By Georgia I. Salvaryn
For the past 50 years, John Gibbs and John Adair have worked as associate professors in English here at Cumberland County College. Throughout the years, both professors have had the opportunity to watch the campus and students grow. I had the pleasure of interviewing Gibbs and Adair and they shared their remarkable stories and unforgettable memories about their experiences at Cumberland County College.
Throughout the interview, Gibbs and Adair expressed their appreciation of the diversity in the student body, their love for their students and courses, and their enthusiasm for learning and their professional careers.
“My first day [at CCC], it was wonderful because I walked into the speech class, I taught speech at night, and I had a 65 year old woman and a 17 year old guy in the same class, and I thought, ‘This is for me,’” Gibbs states. “…it’s the interchange between the students that makes it so good.”
“People say to me, ‘Don’t you get tired of doing the same thing?’ and I say, ‘Of course not because I am not doing the same thing.’ Every class is different,” Gibbs states. “As the years go on, you get different experiences and different reactions. And, actually, what we’ve discovered, I think is, you learn new things, and…teachers learn from students as well as students learn from teachers.”
“We learn new things because you have students who had different experiences and they have different attitudes. And you hear and see things, sometimes, in a completely different way than you saw them,” Gibbs adds.
“I tell students, ‘The beauty of teaching literature is you can never exhaust it.’ And every once in a while, I haul out a pen and I’m writing and someone will ask me, ‘What are you writing down?’ and I’ll say, ‘I just thought of a new idea on what we discussed in class. I’m going to incorporate that next year,’” Adair states.
“We both like the interchange that we have with the students,” Adair adds. “That’s one of the neat things that we have about the community college… And I think that is part of why we have been here as long…”