Education as Business Ramblings

For today’s post, I want to try something a little different.  If you were ever a student of mine, at Tusculum or WSCC, I want to know how much you value the skills you learned from my classes.  Please, leave a comment on this site describing any significance those skills have had on your life.  I want (and quite honestly need) to hear whether or not all of the sacrifices I’ve made to my health, financial security, and personal life have made a positive impact on your lives, so please describe for me what you took away from my courses and whether or not that has affected you beyond the time you spent in class.

Thank you for taking the time to respond,

D.A. “Alex” Adams

29 thoughts on “Education as Business Ramblings”

  1. Honestly, everything I learned in your class is still so beneficial to me. All of the lessons helped me to see where I was struggling in my writing as well as improving my writing skills. I used all of the notes when I was writing college admissions essays and essays for scholarships. Without your help, I could imagine that I’d still be struggling with certain skills. I’ve also used the techniques in my first couple of months of college at UT and I’m sure I’ll continue to use them. Thanks again for everything!

  2. Your classes were definitely the most educational and beneficial of all that I had. The one thing I hope Tusculum might do is incorporate more excel in the classes throughout the business courses. Everybody needs excel in the business world.

  3. I loved your class! I was always happy to be there because you genuinely cared about English and literature and you were enthusiastic and engaging. There are some classes you take and you never think about them ever again because they don’t mean anything to you. Your class taught me so much and improved my writing and made me more appreciative of literature. I’m actually taking a literature class right now and I remember how we used to analyze passages and poetry and everyone would complain about how we’d be taking things too far, particularly with The Red Wheelbarrow. But gosh, there’s so much more to taking things at face value and you taught me that. It’s always wonderful to be reading something and slowly seeing the symbols and hidden meanings it has to offer. Do not believe that you’ve wasted your time as a professor because I sincerely value everything I learned in your class and look back on it positively and I know for a fact I’m not the only one. We have many teachers and professors in our lives and only a few genuinely stand out. You are one of them. Not only are you an incredible teacher, you’re an incredible person and I sincerely wish the best in all that you do.

  4. Mr. Adams,
    In your class I learned soooo much. You challenged me and gave me an incredible wake up call my senior year of high school. You taught me so much more than composition. You taught me that making it through the class was never going to be enough to succeed in life. I learned to create my opinion in your class and back it up with real world facts. I learned how to logically persuade people that my opinion was the way to go. You taught me how to not be insanely scattered brained. Obviously, I still am very scatter brained but I belive you would agree its an improvement from that first essay I wrote in your class. I still use fish cabinets when I write essays. Thank you for all you taught me when I had you my senior year. Continue to teach students the way you do!!!!

  5. I think that you’re classes have been very beneficial to me, not only from a writing aspect but from just life in general as well. You have taught me so much about writing & life. You’re also probably one of the few teachers that has actually made an impact on my life. I think that everything that you have done for us & sacrificed was definitely for the good & I thank you so much. As being an elementary major, you have taught me so much & have given me a lot more confidence about myself & about me teaching younger children & trying to be their role model. Thanks for everything. 🙂

  6. Prior to your class, my writing was mediocre at best. All of my previous English teachers stressed grammar and mechanics more so than they did technique and development. So, while my grammar grew increasingly better, my writing was certainly not up to par. Everything you taught in class really helped me develop as a writer, and now I have no struggles out putting college level essays. I still use all of the techniques you taught when I am writing papers for any of the classes I’m taking now, and not to sound like I am bragging or anything, but I found my papers to be significantly better written than a majority of the students in my comp class at Maryville. Without your teachings, I am certain this would not be the case. I really appreciate all of the skills you taught us Mr. Adams. I am definitely thankful that I had the opportunity to have you for Comp I.

  7. If you remember from my writings in your class, I tend to be long-winded or “wordy”, so forgive me in advance if any of the following bores you. During my time in your Comp I and II classes, I learned that I hate fish, especially those tucked away in cabinets. I also learned I hate listening to instructors who seem like they know everything and therefore have the authority to override any and every thing not deemed suitable by their rules. Naturally, I have an aversion to doing things “by the book.” I’ve no idea why this is. For all I know it’s a gene sealed in my body long ago. But I digress. Anywho, beyond a writing process that with, and I admit this with humility and a hint of chagrin, I still use occasionally, beyond the interpretations of poetry that I will probably never understand, and even beyond the political, religious, social, and philosophical discussions we (as a class) somehow happened upon, I learned one of the most valuable lessons one can learn: how to learn. This essential element of intellectual thought is not confined to academic studies, but also the observation of the world around us. It is tolerance, it is humor, and it is an open mind. So for that I say thank you, Mr. Adams. I’ve no idea the impact you’ve made on others but, for this student, you showed me (forgive me again for this corny statement, but Frost is one of my favorites poets) the road less traveled. And that has made all the difference.

  8. For me personally, your class taught me of course the basics to writing as any good comp class would cover, but you went deeper. I learned that being long winded and adding in those sentences that we BS to get to a word limit may seem to help the paper, but in reality it takes away from it. You challenged me personally to look deeper into a text and do research before barely putting together a decent paper to turn in right on time. Writing is more than an assignment but a process. My first rough draft will always be rough, and the first draft should never be the final. You taught be that in order to be a great writer you have to practice. Sometimes you have to fill up a few cabinets with fish paintings to get a master piece. I still use what you have taught me in all my course work here at tech. I used what you said in all my scholarship papers. I’m currently in the process of being accepted into the college of education at tech for my upper division courses. One requirement is my disposition on education, and your teaching will influence how I write it. Thank you for all you taught me. I am glad I had you for dual enrollment because it helped me prepare for college more than I first thought it would. A lesson that very few teachers dare to venture upon is life. I learned that not everyone thinks the same and sometimes the best way to help or get a point across is through silence and a smile.Have a grand and blessed day Mr. Adams.

  9. Ok, first off you forgot to tag Big Mike. I’ll tag him later. Secondly, yes. You made a difference to me. I write short stories in my free time using the methods you taught. I have an utter disgust for web speak. That may not have anything to do with you, but I feel like it’s something we can hate together. Most importantly you’re my friend. You were my teacher, and now you’re my buddy. There are days I think to myself “I would really like to have a beer with Mr. A, he’s an excellent perspective on things.” Everytime I go to a concert, I internalize “this bruised rib is what Mr. A was talking about when he said ‘you need more self esteem’…” All the time. I think you’re an excellent teacher. You corrected 12 years of poor English instruction from Grainger County in less than 3 semesters! Do you have any idea what sort of achievement that is?! You fixed it. You fixed my writing. I was in CP English in high school and I still wasn’t on par with where I should’ve been. YOU CHANGED THAT! It was all you man. I dropped out because I ran out of money. Believe it or not I can sit at home and read books for free. I share your blog everytime I get a chance. Every teacher, student, union worker, and bystander I know knows your blog. I’m always going “Look!! Our country’s education is in the shitter guys! Share the Gospel as written by D. A. Adams!” For cereal sir, you, and your excellent teaching skills are in high esteem with me. You probably don’t reach most of them, but to me you’re a rock star. Keep on keepin’ on.

  10. Well for starters I really have a high level of respect for you as a person not only intellectually but personally. As far as your classes, I feel like what I most took away was organization and deeper meaning. You taught me you can’t do crap without proper pre-writing. That has been a super life saver. As well as finding points to support your theories and how crucial proper evidence can be. And as far as influence beyond the classes, we both know what a help you have been with all those matters. I am so lucky to have had you as a teacher and I highly recommend my friends and younger siblings to take your classes. Your methods really made me stand out in my literature classes at Emory! You are an invaluable resource to me as a student and have been a major source of support and encouragement; a real role model if you will. And I will always be grateful to have had you!

  11. Alex I couldn’t wait to respond to this post. If it wasn’t for you I wouldn’t even know how to format a paper let alone write a paper. I still have all my notes from your class. You made learning fun and not all professors have that gift. I remember after having surgery on Friday, I was bound and determined not to miss your class come hell or high water on Monday.Even though I earned the nickname like that name though!!) You rock!!! Students are blessed to have you! =)

  12. I was a 33 year old returning student who, despite the prodigious amounts of BS excreted to convince everyone otherwise, was extremely nervous entering your class (the first of the cohort) at Tusculum. Nervous might be too mild of a word for it.. terrified might be better. I had no idea what I was about to undertake, nor did I know how rewarding the process would be. I was put at ease immediately by your demeanor.. you came across as someone who was genuinely interested in making us better writers. I’ve had more than my share of instructors through the years, and I can truly say that you rank pretty darn near the top.

    Keep your head up. You impact lives in a positive way on a daily basis – very few can say that.

  13. I took a lot away from your class. I used to hate writing papers, but you broke things down and made everything much simpler. I still use your method to this day and the lowest grade I have received on a paper is a B+.

  14. I thought your class was great! You emphasized more in your class than just the material we was suppose to learn. I think the “extras” you taught us about the importance of being professional go further than the basics of composition. I personally find it refreshing that people still believe in those things; I was taught many of those same principles when I was young.
    Furthermore, I know I will never forget the what/how system you taught us. I still use it to this day! It has helped me get through more papers than just the ones I wrote in your class.
    P.S. On a completely random side note, I typed this on my phone. Sorry for all the errors.

  15. As one of my first college instructors, you helped me set the foundation for three years of learning. You made class fun while keying in on the fundamentals. You were definitely one of the few who kept me interested and inspired to keep going. Thank you! 🙂

  16. I personally thought you was a great teacher. You was strict but taught a lot. I liked what you taught in speech about how to stand and what movements not to make. I also appreciated how you was very thorough in your grading of the essays. Strict but I can still remember how to have a thesis and to this day I am very thorough in my note taking at work . I am an Insurance agent. I also think you taught us how to how our own opinions with one another without judging. Thank you for being a good teacher when I was in your class.

  17. Where do I even start! I went into your dual enrollment class terrified because I hated writing papers. However, I do believe that taking Comp I and Comp II was one of the best decisions I have made thus far in my academic career. After going through Comp I and Comp II, my writing improved so drastically!

    You taught us how to make writing a process and that there is a method to writing a paper. As an accounting major, I really enjoy methods and processes and always wished that writing had a formula. You really showed me that this was possible with the what/how method and showed us the steps to forming a great paper. This is not to say that writing is uncreative and must always be a process, but you were able to communicate writing to me in a way that made sense.

    I learned skills that have become so valuable in so many different areas. College entrance essays were so much easier to complete. I no longer dreaded writing a paper for classes. In fact, last year I took my first Honors class at the University of Tennessee – Knoxville, and we were required to write a term paper. My paper ended up being nearly 14 pages plus a Works Cited. The skills I learned helped me not only to complete this paper, which was the longest I had ever written, but also to make a 100 on that paper.

    You really took the time to help us during class. I appreciated that you did not try to waste our time with busy work, but actually gave us time to ask questions so we could better understand the material. You also taught us to be professional. I still remember you telling us to be 15 minutes early to professional engagements, something that I try to do to this day.

    Students normally ask teachers for recommendations, but if I ever had the opportunity to recommend a teacher as a student, Mr. Adams for Comp I and Comp II would be at the top of that list.

  18. 😉 This, Alex, is why the toil is worth it. It isn’t the masses, but those individuals whose lives you impacted long after they leave your classroom. 🙂

  19. You taught me how to write an essay (and quite frankly any type of literature) the correct way. I now have my own writing routine I go through every time I need to write something. I learned the value of being precise and passionate about the things I say and do in day to day life. I read almost every thing three times to be certain that I fully understand the meaning. Your lectures have a tremendous impact on your students, whether you know it or not. I will be forever grateful that you were my first professor.

  20. Your class refreshed the technical skills of writing for me. I was returning to school for a second time. You taught me that I still can learn new ideas and techniques. You taught me how best to present an argument in writing without becoming confrontational. A skill I still put to use today, not only in business, but in real life. You are the only professor from there whose name I remember. Very few teachers from my eight years of college education have had that effect on me in a positive way.

  21. Your class tought me how to write. As a student, you recognized the gaps in knowledge that high school and Comp. I had left in me, and you worked with me to fill those gaps while bringing me up to the level of the rest of your class. Without it, I would have been lost after moving on to ETSU. Since then, I have found myself using the skills you tought in my professional life!

  22. I remember learning quite a bit in your classes. I think my wife and I were actually with you for 3 classes our first year at Tusculum. I find myself emplying things I learned about writing from in my current pursuit of higher education at Crown College. It’s been interesting to see how what I learned then is still aiding me today. Thanks for this opportunity to look back on those times. We also continue to value you as a friend even we may not connect much these days. I remember reading Brotherhood of Dwarves and attending a signing/reading at Carpe Librum. We still have that first autographed copy you gave us. Thank you Alex Adams for your contribution to our story.

  23. Every once in a while a person gets the privilege to learn from someone who truly cares about their education. I received this privilege through your class. You connected with my entire class on a deeper level than the usual student-pupil relationship. We knew that you expected great things from us. This in turn helped us realize we could do great things. Since being in college, I have never met a writing challenge that I’ve found too daunting. I can stand upon the foundation you provided in order to tackle the challenges I now meet. More importantly, however, you instilled a drive within me to succeed. I appreciate everything you have done for myself and my class. Thank you.

  24. Prior to taking your class, I had no idea how to write a collegiate essay. I was definitely NOT prepared! Thankfully, I had the opportunity to take your class, and I now feel a lot more confident in my writing. Because of you, I actually don’t hate writing essays anymore. You explained it so well and broke it down in a manner that I could comprehend. Also, I am very thankful that you explained how important and essential pre-writing, research, and re-writing is when one is in the writing process. Sadly, that was not something that was taught very well in my previous English classes and as a result, caused me a lot of trouble. Besides learning how to properly write, I loved to listen to your lectures as well, and I had a lot of fun in that class! I truly thank you VERY much for teaching me so much, and I always recommend and tell people to take your class if they have the chance!

  25. In all honesty, one of the most memorable college instructors that I have had or more than likely will have. I was in the stage of my education where I was worried about how I would perform at the college level. I didn’t know what to expect from a teacher at the college level. Mr. Adams was unbelievable. He wasn’t an easy teacher by all means. He wasn’t the teacher I was happy to go to so I could slack off. Mr. Adams was always on his game ready to inform and educate us for the full allotted time. His methods are easy to understand at our age. He cared if we actually learned it and if we were able to use it in our assignments. Still to this day, every time that I have an essay that crosses my path I always refer back to the “what/how” process he taught us. I remember that before any other method I’ve ever learned. I even introduced and explained it to one of our pledges just the other day! Thank you.

  26. I didn’t even notice that I was tagged until this morning. I have notifications turned off for just about everything on Facebook. Sorry for the delay. I would just like to say that I took away something that I seriously lacked from your classes. That thing is confidence. You provided me with a firm foundation in writing. After taking both comp classes with you, I walked away with confidence in my writing method, my thought process, and my idea gathering. I still use that green notebook that I used to take meticulous notes for when I have a writing assignment. I tell people all the time that I’m grateful for that FIRM foundation of principles that you provided last year. It really did make a big difference in helping me become a better student.

    This may not seem to be much for some people, but for me, it’s a lot. So thank you! Be encouraged!

  27. Your class was hands down the best and most influential class I’ve ever taken. You really opened my eyes on writing, and, more specifically, creativity. Every night of class I left completely inspired. Not only did you push us to write well, you pushed us to think outside of the box and write consistently, which is something that I thoroughly lacked. Discipline is one of the most important things about the process, and I had no idea until after that semester of creative writing. So, thank you. Thank you for enhancing my writing. Thank you for inspiring me and making me write out of my comfort zone. Most of all, thank you for teaching me to never give up. I learned more in this one semester class than I did throughout all of my years at Walters State. I’ll keep these lessons with me throughout my entire life, as I know every one of your other students will. Keep inspiring, and never give up.

  28. Oh Big Guns!
    If one thing can be said about Pigeon Forge High School, it is that they do not properly prepare anyone for college. Your class, however, was the one that I will never forget. You taught me how to not write like a sarcastic bastard in a professional paper, which you would think would be easy. It is not. That has REALLY come in handy here at UT. You also taught me to never use “very” unless prepared to replace it with “damned”. I’m taking that with me to the grave. You’re a groovy teacher, brother. Without your class, I’d be inbred, amish, AND ignorant. Hang in there, King of the World.

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