Annual Faculty Lecturer 2015-2016
BIOGRAPHY – INTERVIEW
The following interview with Dr. Lake occurred a few weeks ago as he strolled along the Santa Barbara shoreline.
Q: Let’s start out easy. What is your favorite color?
A: Purple. I have been told it is the color of royalty and that I wear the color well. My students get a kick out of seeing my purple “Chucks.”
Q: Let’s get a bit more challenging. Who was your favorite teacher?
A: This is not challenging at all. Like everyone, I have had several great teachers throughout my educational journey. Mrs. Bailey was a teacher I had at South Wayne Elementary School. She was short in stature, but big in how she made learning fun. I remember we took a field trip and it was so neat to be outside of the traditional classroom and still learn. She was patient with me, got to know me, and she saw something in me that made me think I could succeed.
Q: What values do you hold dear?
A: Education and Service to Others. Both of my parents, Christie and Francis Lake, consistently demonstrated these values. Education was seen as an opportunity, a foundation for having a better life. Service to Others was seen as your obligation. Even though you might not have much, there was always someone who had less. It was your obligation to do something to help them have a better life.
Q: How has the value of Education played out in your life?
A: As a child, I attended elementary, junior high, and high school with the idea of getting the most I could out of my experiences. There were some rough spots, but I ended on a high note and was accepted to college. During my journey into the world of higher education as a student, I continued to want to learn more, do better, and see what the big world was all about. My education culminated in my earning a Doctorate of Education. It was the best academic experience I ever had! I was proud of what I had accomplished and the hard work I put in. The support of my husband was unwavering and my friends and colleagues were a great support system. It was worth everything!
Q: How does the value of Education and your personal journey as a student influence your teaching philosophy?
A: With a primary role as an early childhood educator teaching adults students to be teachers of young children, I have a teaching philosophy that features optimal teaching and learning occurring in the context of a relationship, not a vacuum. The environment for effective teaching and learning is a series of on-going student-teacher interactions. With the classroom serving as the environment and the course curriculum as a tool, I guide Early Childhood Education students in understanding the complexities of their behaviors as well as those of young children through a respectful, responsive, and reciprocal process. I facilitate a learning environment where it is safe to ask questions, express differing views, receive constructive feedback, and be passionate advocates for young children. A physically-safe and emotionally-safe atmosphere allows the Early Childhood Education student to be in successful pursuit of her or his educational goals and dreams.
In addition, the teaching and learning process is an integral part of the lives of the students, as their home, social, and college lives are intimately intertwined. Therefore, I practice a philosophy of Early Childhood Education not only to teach students specific information or skills for a career objective, but also to also provide hands-on, meaningful and challenging learning experiences. By including opportunities for dialog and times for reflection, I encourage Early Childhood Education students to become productive leaders in their communities.
Q: Let’s go back to the value of Service to Others.
Talk to me about how that value is present in your life today.
A: In viewing teaching as a way to be in Service to Others, I have served on various campus committees and have been asked to serve in several leadership positions at Santa Barbara City College. In addition, I have been a key contributor to several state-wide early childhood education projects, president of the California Association for the Education of Young Children, and a principal advisory board member for the Children’s Museum of Santa Barbara. As a result of this service work, I have been the fortunate recipient of the Santa Barbara City College Faculty Excellence Award and twice nominated for the California Community College Hayward Award.
Q: After graduate school, what was your first job?
A: I conducted psychiatric evaluations in the emergency room of a community hospital. It was an eye-opening experience. I learned so much about people and most importantly, myself.
Q: Not counting your current position, what has been your favorite job?
A: This is another easy one. Anytime I have been teaching with young children it has always been the best. There is just something for me about being at their level, seeing the world through their eyes, trying to figure out what their brains are thinking and feeling that I find truly extraordinary and fascinating. I figured out that my lap capacity for pre-school children is five. That is important to know when reading a story.
Q: What is something that most people, including your students, might not know about you?
A: One thing might be that I love to swing on swings. I grew up with a swing set in the backyard and I would spend hours swinging and trying to “touch my toes to the sky.” I just love that feeling of movement and freedom. In Santa Barbara, I have been seen on the swings at East Beach enjoying myself. Another thing is I enjoy a good laugh. Once I was laughing so hard I needed a tissue. It was great fun and I think a fun surprise for my students.
Q: What is your favorite word?
A: Enjoy! I have been blessed with an incredible life and do not take it for granted. Even through the tough times, the hard work, the sacrifices I made early on, I have continued to find that place of enjoyment. I want to make sure I do my best every day to enjoy it to the fullest. Also, I want that for everyone. Enjoy!
Q: Congratulations on your selection as the 2015-16 Faculty Lecturer at Santa Barbara City College.
A: Thank you. I am very honored and humbled.
The honor of being selected Faculty Lecturer means many individuals have participated in the making of this day’s events. Some individuals have had the focus of working with me on only today’s activities while other individuals have had many years in making this day be extra special.
To the many different staff departments and individuals who were patient with me and provided gentle guidance in how things could be done, I thank you for taking my vision and making today a reality.
To the faculty of the Early Childhood Education Department, I thank you for creating a space that encourages me to do what I do in the way that I do it. I appreciate your professionalism in doing what you do best, your dedication to all students enrolled in the Early Childhood Education Department, and your ability to play and laugh as we strive to create a teaching and learning environment based on research principles and best practices.
To the many students who have taken an early childhood education course with me over these many years, I thank you for your interest in young children and making a commitment to ensuring their world is safe—physically and emotionally—as well as filled with positive learning experiences. You have so many talents. Go for It!
To my friends and colleagues in the early childhood education profession, I thank you for your continued support. You have provided me with guidance, inspiration, and laughter. As I have evolved as an educator as well as a contributor to many programs and projects, I am blessed to have accomplished so much with your assistance while helping others create pathways to be who they are and who they want to become. Enjoy!
To the administration and faculty at SBCC, I thank you for being kind people who say “Hello” as our paths cross on campus. I appreciate your commitment to SBCC, our students, and to teaching and learning as truly noble endeavors that are filled with many challenges and many more joys. Knowing you has made me a better teacher and, more importantly, a better person.
I dedicate the 2015-16 Faculty Lecture to the following:
Robert Welly—my husband, who has helped me create a life filled with laughter, new discoveries, respect, and love—always and forever.
Christie and Francis Lake—my parents, who instilled in me the values of education and service to others along with a selfless work ethic.
Bruce, Jill, Denny, and Beth Lake—my brothers and sisters, who taught me many lessons about getting along with others, using your voice, and always doing your best.