Prof. Daniels: ‘English is not my first language’
By Abigail Trujillo
“I’m just the evening guy,” simply described Jeffrey Daniels of the English department at Harold Washington College.
Mr. Daniels created and advises the Creative Writing club at HWC. The club is full of active student writers that meet weekly to sharpen their skills as poets, playwrights, fiction and nonfiction writers.
He also commits his time as editor of the Garland Court Review. The student-edited literary journal became a web-based publication last year.
While being asked what inspired him to pursue a teaching career, Daniels replied saying,
“I’ve often had difficulty communicating myself; English is not my first language and that’s something I struggle with a little bit. Writing slowed things down and allowed me to be more thoughtful and reflective on how I communicate. It empowered me in that way, so creative writing became a necessity for me and as I empowered myself I felt a strong desire to share that with others.”
Teachers have different styles of teaching and teaching is a very personal thing to Daniels. He is very invested in the personal success of each individual student, but he is aware that everyone learns differently, he expressed.
Daniels believes in evaluating himself as a teacher every semester. He likes to figure out what worked, what didn’t work, talking to students and hearing out what changes they need because they may have grown up in a different time than another student, explained Daniels.
“There’s a reason he advises our clubs. He’s such a relatable person,” said Tondalaya Smith, a student of Daniels and member of the Creative Writing Club and the Women’s Empowerment Group.
Daniels was recruited by evening students as faculty advisor for the Night Student Advocacy group. He is also a co-advisor for the Women’s Empowerment Group with faculty advisor Viggy Alexanderson.
“It’s very fulfilling because each group has a very distinctive and important mission, and it’s sort of a humbling that I could be a part of it but empowering at the same time,” said Daniels when asked about the nightlife of Harold Washington College.
Daniels has been busy with all four clubs and is on campus until 10 p.m. but none of that matters to him because he enjoys seeing a cultural development in our school, he said.
Daniels developed his relatable style of teaching throughout his career at the School of the Art Institute where he taught creative writing and technology-based visual art, Columbia College Chicago, and the American Academy of Art.
“I’m always very hesitant to use the name brand of a school to represent any fidelity of my education of my degree...it’s really about the quality of the teaching, the quality of the students, not how big the building is or how big the campus is,” said Daniels
According to Daniels, being a teacher at Harold Washington College he is able to witness his students know the meaning of what hard work means and dignity and pride in their hard work.
“Students who are willing to come to community college are also willing to work hard jobs and put in long hours. So I’m very proud to be a Community College teacher...this college is my home, I’m very proud to be here” said Daniels.