Moonlight Revue: Professors Practicing What They Teach

 

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FRCC Faculty recite written work during the 4th annual Faculty Reading Moonlight Revue at Front Range Community College in Westminster, Colo on April 25, 2018. Photos by Ezra Ekman.

 

Written by DJ Lincks

Moon-faced masquerades, guitar plucked blues, sparkly pink roller skates and more filled room L211 in College Hill Library on April 24th, at the fourth annual Front Range Community College Westminster campus Professor reading, this year dubbed the “Moonlight Revue.”  The event, hosted and emceed by English professor Jonathan Montgomery, featured faculty and community members sharing personal pieces of writing, excerpts of others, and more, displaying vocational credibility to students, friends and family.

Instructors, more often than not, venture into the world of teaching for a number of reasons, including: a love for the subject, the pedagogical practice itself, and the desire to positively impact and inspire future students, but rarely in a classroom setting do they receive an opportunity to exhibit their own work. Through this event, mainly English department instructors gave evidence to their friends, and family, but most importantly, their students, that they do in fact, “practice what they teach.”

A variety of genres were read/performed including, but not limited to: poetry, short fiction, creative nonfiction. Chairs were filled as each reader took to the stage, many students in anticipation of viewing a side of their professors they rarely get to see.

Numerous stories were shared. Some of pink roller skates losing their childhood innocence. Some of the adoration and near envy of freedom, taking a winged form. Some of frustrations most teaching in secondary education can relate to. Some of the limitations modern technology presents in capturing celestial beauty, and even some of unwavering and lasting love.

Tino Gomez was one of many featured on the night’s set list. Gomez began teaching at FRCC as an adjunct professor in 2008, and became a full time faculty member in 2009. Since then, he has played an integral role at FRCC in the push for more creative writing options for students to explore. This was Gomez’ fourth year participating in the Revue.

“The idea is that, we would be authentic,” Gomez explained. “Practicing what we teach has always been the theme, so rather than being hypocritical and saying, ‘writing is good, engage in it,’ and not doing it ourselves, we thought it would be important to showcase that we indeed, believe in what we’re saying in the classroom.”

This year’s reading had the longest set list of authors over the course of the event’s four year lifespan, including: Dennis Dunkin, Mark DuCharme, Dana Green, Tino Gomez, Aaron Left, John Sullivan, Michelle Medeiros, Jeeks Rajagopal, Jonathan Montgomery, Randy Russell. Another unique aspect of this years reading, as Gomez mentioned; more than just the English department was encouraged to participate.

“We reached out to the whole campus. This was the first year we encouraged folks outside of the English department to be involved. We also encouraged visual art, this was the first year we had paintings, collages, and other visual art on display from folks within the department and outside of the department.”

Gomez has been working on a manuscript, and shared three of his pieces, claiming them to all have different subject matter, but all being read as a cohesive unit. Each piece was  autobiographical, exploring the conditions of the human psyche through the things that cause us awkward discomfort leading to a feeling of inadequacy, the duality of innocence and cruelty that each human innately embodies, and the contemporary #metoo movement, playing on the notion that these discussions are not a new development. On top of the work itself, Gomez, like many other instructors of the night, chose to make his reading a performance of sorts, simulating the changing of radio stations after each story finished.

Jackson Finiol, president of FRCC’s Creative Writing Club, and Marc Smith, a fellow member of the writing club, were also in attendance.

“I thought it was really cool to see the different sides of our professors. It was nice to see who they are, rather than who they show as a teacher,” said Finiol.

“I thought it was really cool too; teachers are funnier than I thought. They also allowed themselves to be vulnerable,” Smith agreed.

Events such as the Moonlight Revue enables professors a platform to not only present a validation of their practices, but also an opportunity to display the hard work that has been put into an obvious passion. Though at times it is easy to place our professors on pedestals, it is important to remember that they too, were once students, and that more often than not, there is a method to their madness within a classroom; They practice what they teach.

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