by Claire Miller
When students in the Department of Middle-Secondary Education and Instructional Technology need to find out about registration issues or a scheduling conflict, they know exactly who to turn to: Bobbie Turner.
Turner, an administrative coordinator, handles those requests and so much more for those who come through the largest department in the College of Education.
She recently sat down to talk about her job and her most recent honor – receiving the College of Education’s 2011 Outstanding Staff Service Award.
Q: How did you first become interested in education?
A: My sister is deaf and when we were children, it was hard for her to communicate with other people. She wanted so badly to be able to express herself, and that broke my heart. My mother enrolled my sister at a school for deaf children in Baton Rouge, La. When she’d come home in the summer, she’d teach us sign language and she would stand in the mirror and practice speaking. She inspired me to become a teacher and work with children. I went to college and taught school for five years, and for those eight hours every day, it was my job to love and protect them as well as teach them.
Q: What does your job as the administrative coordinator for the Department of Middle-Secondary Education and Instructional Technology entail?
A: When I first started in MSIT, they needed my help getting student teachers placed in schools. In order to get them placed, you have to be persistent and stay in touch with the schools to make sure they are willing to work with your students. Student teaching is a great opportunity for schools to see future teachers that they can potentially hire once they’ve finished their degrees.
I also handle equipment, student registration, processing applicants’ files, scheduling and setting up technology in classrooms. I do a little bit of everything!
Q: You work with several programs in MSIT, including the Transition-To-Teaching Project and the Reading Endorsement Initiative. What have your experiences with these programs been like?
A: My job is to be a problem solver and assist the directors of these programs. If I can get to the bottom of a problem that they’re having, they can do their jobs more effectively. I get to work with a lot of students as well, and I love working with them. I like to do things for people – it’s as simple as that. We are here to serve with love and kindness, and that’s what I try to do.
Q: What was your reaction when you found out you’d won the 2011 Outstanding Staff Service Award?
A: I was so surprised. I thought, “You didn’t have to do that!” It’s nice to be recognized, but that’s not why I do my job. I just try to be thankful for everything I have. My mother used to say, be the best at what you’re doing. If you’re sweeping street corners, be the best street sweeper you can. At any job, I give it my all and try to do the best that I can.