PROFESSOR OF ENGLISH
Meet Suki Tooley. She teaches English composition, but intensely dislikes writing. "I always tell my students that you don't have to love a subject to master it," Tooley says. "I relate to my students who find it challenging to write, but my goal is to offer tips and suggestions and ultimately help them learn this skill."
Tooley joined TCC in 2005, after teaching at a number of colleges and universities. "I found my niche at the community college, because I enjoy teaching a diverse student body with traditional and non-traditional students," Tooley says. "We learn so much from each other."
Tooley considers herself a "laid back" teacher, but she is quick to note that she also believes in the power of revision. "I ask my students to revise their papers as often as needed," she says. "If my students want to put in more effort by revising and learning, then I am happy to meet them halfway."
An advocate for first generation college students, Tooley is quick to offer encouraging words to students new to academia. "For some of my students, this is a whole new world. Because of our small class sizes, I can work with them one-on-one to ensure success."
Tooley holds a master's in composition rhetoric from the University of Kansas. A native of Hampton, Tooley earned her bachelor's in English from Christopher Newport University. "I always planned to work with books in some dusty setting, but after teaching my first class as a graduate student, I was hooked."
And for students who come to TCC for an easy time, Tooley adds, "The level of teaching and the work required here mirror that of four-year schools. My students are coming here for a quality education, and I'm going to be sure they get it."
At the end of each semester, Tooley’s students contribute to a class newsletter that provides them with a forum to share what they've learned with students coming after them. "My students really enjoy this project, because they see their work in print," Tooley says.
For the second year running, Tooley heads the Literary Festival committee and is one of the editors of Channel Marker, an anthology of student writings. "This year we are focusing on The Memoir,” she says. Author Anchee Min will be the keynote speaker for the week-long festival in April. One of Min's main themes is identity. A native of communist China, Min credits the English language with giving her the means to express herself.
Tooley is excited by the theme, because it will draw writers from a variety of areas. "I think our students and the community will relate well to what we are planning," she says.
Married for eight years, Tooley lives in Suffolk with her husband, two cats and two dogs. In her off time she plays video games, reads comics, crochets and bakes.