Meet…Richard Morales is a former graduate from Sinclair Community College and throughout his life, he faced challenges and opportunities which led him to his final semester as a professor at Sinclair Community College.
Morales was born in Houston, Tx. to a family of Mexcian heritage. Additionally, his neighborhood was filled with people of Mexican descent. He faced challenges moving across the country after he joined the Marine Corp.
“I was prepared for it. I knew things were going to be different,” Morales stated. “ I probably wasn’ going to be surrounded by a bunch of Mexicans in the neighborhood. But, it’s been okay because it allowed me to think for myself. I get to look at things from a totally different perspective and I get to teach that way.”
All of his prior life experiences allow Morales to show students who Mexcian-Americans truly are.
“I do have a different way of looking at things. I get to look at it from an entirely different perspective and I get to teach that way,” Morales said, “it’s that experience that allows me to be a different type of professor, but also a very good professor.”
In his last year of teaching, if there was one thing he learned and something that he would love to leave for students, it would be flexibility.
“Learn to be flexible,” Morales said. “Don’t be like too many people and don’t limit yourself. Be truly open-minded and don’t allow yourself to get forced into it.”
Morales began teaching in 1999 and started teaching at Sinclair in 2003. Going into his first year of teaching at Sinclair, Morales was unsure about remaining a professor.
“I applied here as an adjunct. Then, this program opened called ‘Grown Our Own’ and a spot came open,” Morales said. “I applied and did the interview process and I was accepted. When I came here, I really wasn’t sure, but after that first year, I knew. This is where I belong.”
Throughout his years of teaching, Morales has seen his fair share of change not only at Sinclair but the larger community, through the remodels of the cityscape around Sinclair and the new businesses around the Miami Valley. But what Morales admires most is seeing the growth of diversity within the students.
“Even though the entire classroom may look alike, they are very diverse,” Morales said. “They don’t have to worry about who they are. I used to worry about it. I no longer do because I am me, take it or leave it.”
Throughout his years of teaching, Morales has been able to use his prior experiences and his background in the military to teach his students. A few methods were not effective but as all good teachers do, they adapt. They experiment in the positives and negatives of teaching to discover what works.
“I’ve shied away from being too overly hard,” Morales stated. “But, there have been times where I have gotten into that mentality. They knew where I was coming from but after that experience, we got better the rest of the semester.”
With this being his final semester teaching, Morales gets to teach his students about his experiences one last time. But before he gets to do that, he has to make one last, long journey from building 13 to building two within a 15 min. interval before his next class.