Carol Ruffin | Equipping Students with the Tools to Succeed

Document created by Sara Jo Lee on Mar 22, 2020
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Carol Ruffin shares what drives him to achieve more.
My Journey to #AchieveMore
From the days of pretending to be teacher to my childhood playmates, to the day I stood before my first class of college students, I always wanted to be a teacher. In the intervening years, observing teachers became a favorite pastime. I enjoyed teachers who were not only smart, but also warm, genuine, and effervescent. My favorite teachers, however, had all the above characteristics plus excellent story telling skills. I wanted to be just like them when I grew up. After earning a BA and then an MFA in Voice and Interpretative Speech, my dream to be a teacher became a reality. For the past 35 years I have taught in the Music and Communication Arts Departments at Maranatha Baptist University in Watertown, Wisconsin. Besides teaching classroom communications and music classes, I teach private voice lessons, and direct one main-stage play or musical each school year. We all have stories to tell—personal stories, the stories of others, and stories born in our imagination. Equipping the next generation to unleash their stories in the most communicative way possible—whether spoken or sung—is what motivates me to enter the classroom or my studio every week. Scholarly research verifies that strong, effective communicators have a definite advantage in any sphere of life. I want my students to have that advantage. Seeing them employ clear thought, creative language, genuine emotion, and heartfelt empathy assures me that the art of skillful face-to-face communication will not be lost in this age of burgeoning technology. In the community of Watertown I am heavily involved with the Euterpe Music Club and the Watertown Area Chamber Orchestra. I am Music Director of Fellowship Baptist Church and the host/producer of a monthly TV show (Carol's Kitchen) at WatertownTV—the local public access station. The 30-minute program has three components: (1) I cook one or two recipes; (2) local musicians—often students of mine—perform 2-3 selections (and are taste testers); and (3) I read an exciting story I have written. It is an amazing opportunity to model the kind of communication I am hoping to instill in my students.

What Drives You to #AchieveMore?