November  2007

Dolores Howard
Associate Professor in English as a Second Language (ESL)

Has been at SBCC for 21 years. She has been in education for 23 years.

AA - Liberal Studies; SBCC
BA - Spanish; UCSB

MA- Spanish Literature; UCSB

TESLl Certificate; UCSB

Interview with Dolores Howard :

What careers or jobs did you have before working at SBCC?

I started working at La Casa de la Raza community center in l986 and continued working there until 1997, while I taught part-time at SBCC.  During that time, I was Cultural Arts and Social Services Coordinator and Business Manager.   Working for a non-profit is challenging and rewarding.  I did just about everything I could or that was necessary, including helping immigrants access services, filling out forms, creating programs, distributing food, writing grant proposals, organizing cultural events, coordinating volunteers, cleaning, gardening and even carpentry work.  I worked with many, many people in a beautiful Latino community center that truly belongs to the thousands of volunteers and staff that have toiled since 1970 and continue today to make that dream stay alive.  Stop by and see what they’re still doing when you get a chance.

What are you reading now?

I just finished reading “The Time of Our Singing” by Richard Powers.  I had read Powers’ “The Echomaker” before and enjoyed it, and I found this novel to be an adventure in the concepts of time and the beauty of music and a perspective on what it is to be biracial.  It’s the story of a German Jewish émigré scientist and an African-American singer that meet at the performance of Marion Anderson in 1939 in Washington D.C., but it’ s also the story of their children, who struggle to come to terms with their place in a society that doesn’t accept even the possibility of their existence. I loved the intellectual challenge of the physics and music that play into the novel and it was a great read to follow Barack Obama’s “Memories from My Father”, although very different.  I’m just starting now with “A Beginner’s Guide to Constructing the Universe:  The Mathematical Archetypes of Nature, Art and Science” by Michael S. Schneider.  It will be lots of fun, I’m sure.

What do you love about your job?

What brings me to work every day is the constant possibility for growth and new directions.  During my time at SBCC in the credit and non-credit programs, I’ve taught classes for people who had to fulfill just 40 hours of ESL and civics instruction to qualify for “amnesty ”, students preparing to enter vocational and educational programs at SBCC, hybrid online classes, and workplace classes.  All along the way, it’s been an adventure, always with something new to try, new people to collaborate with, and, of course, new students with different needs to whom I needed to listen and for whom I attempted to provide instruction in a way meaningful to their lives. I taught my first class here in l986 and it is still exciting to come to work and always be challenged, and to constantly hear from people who have a new idea on which to collaborate.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

For me, perfect happiness comes in single, beautiful moments throughout life, as a steady supply of possibility for endless happiness.  The sight of a child sliding off her parent’s lap to pick up a leaf that just blew in front of her; arriving at the peak of a hiking trail amidst laughter and groans of friends; smiles and hugs, those outward signs of the relationship building that makes life so rich; the startling rediscovery of the smell of night and the indefinite number of stars, and the satisfaction of any accomplishment:  snapping a book closed after the last wonderful page has let go of my imagination, walking out of a class where I know new ground has been broken, the last plant or stone put into place in the garden, or even a painful talk with a loved one that ends with a step towards healing.  Those moments are perfect happiness, along with the marvel that the warmth, the delight, and the daring to take the next step that come from them, stay with me.