Faculty Spotlight on Ryan Tanner-Read
What brought you into the world of education?I started teaching at the college level when I went to work on my PhD in American History. I taught both world and American history at William and Mary. Then, I took a year off from teaching at the college level to try teaching at Oldfields and see if I wanted to remain in higher education. I discovered that I would rather be in secondary education where I have more chance to know my students closely and tailor my classes to their interests and strengths.
What do you like to do in your spare time?My main hobby is record collecting. I have 650 records by last count and I own three different record players. I keep a cabinet record player in my classroom and play records in between classes. Students sometimes request particular songs or artists and I bring them from home if I have them so we can listen to them.
What do you love about Oldfields?
I love the students and the connections I can make with them. Going from a classroom with 200 students or even 40 students at the college level, getting into a room with ten students or less really lets me know who they are and what they need as learners and as people
What is your favorite quote?"I am in earnest — I will not equivocate — I will not excuse — I will not retreat a single inch — AND I WILL BE HEARD." -William Lloyd Garrison, 1831
What advice would you give to the students?
I would give students two very important pieces of advice: 1. Remember that reasonable people can and do disagree about a great many issues. You can always think the worst of your opponents and you may be right, but at least try to imagine how a reasonable person, acting in good faith, might believe the opposite of what you do. You don't need to accept their arguments, but discussion is much more productive if you can see their point of view. 2. Just because something is hard doesn't mean it isn't worth your time. If classes didn't challenge you, you would never grow. So, be skeptical of things that seem easy. If it isn't asking much of you, it also isn't teaching you much. If you know how to do it immediately, it isn't adding anything to your knowledge and skills. If it seems hard or confusing at first, this might be the sign that you are really going to learn something.