English Instructor Honored with Top Teaching Award
By Jade Newman
Many students who take an English or writing course at the Anoka-Ramsey Community College Cambridge campus have taken or will take it with English instructor William Breen.
During spring break, Breen thought that avoiding his email was a nice way to relax. But, he ended up checking it and was glad he did because the first email he saw was one telling him he had received the MnSCU Board of Trustees 2016 Award of Excellence, which is the top teaching award given to outstanding educators throughout all of the state communities colleges and universities.
When asked how he felt about receiving the award, Breen responded with the words: honored and humbled. “I was humbled by the recognition,” said Breen, “there are so many other teachers out there to also put students’ first and doing great work.”
Those who have had Breen as an instructor would agree that they are always doing something in his class. For example, Breen previously wrote a novel for middle school-aged readers. He used his own novel to teach revising and other writing skills to his students. Not only did the students have the opportunity to learn from a practical, real-life example of writing and revision, but Breen himself also received comments and feedback on his novel from the students.
Breen keeps connected with students by making things interesting for them with the assignments and readings and by making the topics covered in class interest. He also includes his own personal struggles, teaching beyond the typical textbook information.
Breen mentiond that giving one-on-one feedback to students helps him to make a difference in their education. Breen also says that he believes his communications through email with students is an important part of being an educator. He responds to them every day, as quickly as possible, helping students and answering their questions.
Congratulations to William Breen for receiving this award of excellence.