One of the new professors at Blackburn College this semester is Dr. John Essington, who works as a professor in the education department. He leads classes in teaching methodology, educational psychology and pedagogy.
“I like Blackburn a lot. I went to school here from 2004-2005,” Essington said. “I also met my wife here, so the idea of coming back is nice since we both have good memories here.”
Before coming to Blackburn to teach, Essington worked as a teacher in several other places. He started off as a substitute teacher in an elementary school, then worked in a high school before finally starting at Blackburn. “My mom was a teacher and my sister is also a teacher, so it was a natural fit for me to be in education,” he said. “Coming to Blackburn and getting to work with people who want to be teachers is an exciting opportunity for me.”
Family serves an important role in Essington’s life, and it has influenced his journey toward becoming a professor. Although his mother’s own job influenced his career choices, his grandfather also served as an important figure in his life. “He was somebody that the whole family looked up to. He was a preacher for 35 years, so his moral code was something that stuck with the whole family,” said Essington.
There were also a couple teachers who significantly impacted him. “I had a teacher named Mrs. Hare in fourth and sixth grade. I liked the way she built relationships with her students and cared for them,” Essington described. “And then in high school, I had a biology teacher. He gave me a good idea of how to be a teacher and work with students. You can joke with them, have fun with them, but still give the sense that you’re a teacher. It was about keeping a level of respect that allowed him to teach and still make us feel comfortable.”
Now, Essington hopes to have a similar impact on his own students. “It’s exciting working with people who want to become teachers, because when you’re teaching in K-12, sometimes you’re working with people who aren’t really excited to be in school,” he said.
“Dr. Essington brings a great collaborative and friendly environment to the classroom,” said senior secondary English education major Jordan Leihser. “I have always enjoyed having Dr. Essington as a professor because I am always learning something new in his class while staying engaged the whole way through. I am happy Dr. Essington chose Blackburn and am appreciative for all of the education tools and concepts he has taught me.”
Ultimately, Essington wants to help others reach their full potential. Essington said, “I’d like to be remembered as someone who was trying to help people become the best version of themselves. I think that’s a natural thing for educators and teachers. They don’t want someone to become just like them, but rather they want to help someone become the best version of who they can be.”