Professor X Unveiled: Fall 2017

Early in the morning, with emails and a full agenda on his mind, Professor X enters the northeast building, noticing a dying plant. If his mind wanders, he thinks of roadtripping, playing soccer and video games with his family, or cheesecake. But instead, he’s in his office preparing for a day of stretching his students minds’ as an instructor and helping other faculty members as the math and science division chair.

Ikemefuna “Ike” Nwosu came to Lake Land through a family friend.

“An old friend of my parents invited me to attend Lake Land as part of my journey toward beginning to live in America,” Nwosu said.

He said his formative education inspired his desire to come to America.

“I went to an American grade school from kindergarten to eighth grade in Zambia,” Nwosu said. “Thus, in my formative years, I had American teachers, textbooks, curriculum, which unknowingly at the time seeded this strong desire to be a part of this great society.”

Nwosu found his calling in the classroom when he began teaching.

“Teaching has been a monumental milestone. I love the classroom so much,” Nwosu said. “Teaching is the first thing I discovered that I was good at, and thus teaching became my first love.”

Clara Allison, one of Nwosu’s former students, said that Nwosu intimidated her at first.

“It was my first semester, and he came off as a hardball. So, I was terrified,” Allison said.

Nwosu agrees that he is a difficult teacher, and pushes every student to learn deeply.

“I really push my students to use our time together to deliberately improve how they study and learn. I push hard at it. To become better students, you have to consciously work at it to get maximum results. Just going through school does not guarantee you becoming a better learner,” Nwosu said. “Becoming a better learner is a skill that most employers would relish to have in their new graduates.”

Allison said it’s hard to stay scared of a teacher who genuinely cares for his students and even has a sense of humor.

“He wants you to pass, but he’s going to make you work for it. The way he taught, the way he responded to the students [put me at ease]. He really cared about making people learn, not just passing the class,” Allison said. “He’s also really funny. He makes a lot of jokes, mostly at his own expense.”

Those jokes seem to serve a purpose. Nwosu said a strong motivator is building relationships and leaving a positive impact.

“I believe that every individual you encounter, whether it’s for ten seconds, 20 seconds, or three hours, you leave an impression on each other,” Nwosu said. “You’d better make that five, ten, 15 seconds or three hours count for something good.”

His focus on relationships also impacts the class’s interactions as a whole. Allison said the most memorable parts of the class were the people in the class and the way they interacted.

“I’m still friends with [my classmates] today. That class and that teacher brought us together,” Allison said. “I also remember, especially in Anatomy I, just joking back and forth all the time with Ike.”

Despite Nwosu’s gift for teaching, he may not have discovered his calling if it weren’t for a higher power.

“If I had to have relied on my individual choices, I would not be here today. I would be trying to chase money on the stock market as a broker or something,” Nwosu said. “But, I am sure glad and relieved that God had other plans for me which were more in line with my giftings.”

Allison said that she would recommend Ike’s classes to anyone.

“I think everybody should take him if they have the chance to,” Allison said.

Though he himself is a teacher, Nwosu isn’t done learning yet. He said that his current studies allow him to see the importance of what goes on at Lake Land in context.

“It’s such an eye-opener to see what you do in a classroom or what you do in an office within a community college, and how you can thread it back to a greater, bigger impact,” Nwosu said. “I think it’s really important for anyone to see how their tasks and roles fit in the over all big picture.”

Nwosu has also gained perspective from his first college experience.

“My very first college education involved me sitting on two-by-fours, propped up by cinderblocks my very first semester. Things improved dramatically after that, but that was my very first semester,” Nwosu said. “If I were to go back to my country today, yes my first university there has dramatically improved. But, I would doubt that every student on campus would enjoy wifi in every single building for free.”

He said one thing he wishes students wouldn’t take their resources at Lake Land for granted.

“I share that because, as great as Lake Land may be, we might not have everything that students might wish for, but we sure have it good,” Nwosu said.

 

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