This month, I’d like to introduce my beautiful, amazing, marvelous professor, Kristy Wooten.
Ms. Wooten is an English professor at Catawba Valley Community College (CVCC), but she is not your average English professor. She is funny, charismatic, bubbly, and quite possibly the coolest professor you’ll ever meet.
Every day, to start class, she asks us a question of the day so we all get to know each other better. That alone makes 12:30-1:50 my favorite part of the day. We laugh, joke around, share stories, and when we write papers, it doesn’t seem like work. The learning environment she creates is unlike any other. In fact, I wish she was my teacher for everything.
Kristy Wooten inspires me everyday. She is truly a beautiful person inside and out. She is someone I would even call a good friend. That is what all teachers should strive for.
This year is Kristy’s second nomination for the Excellence in Teaching award, and it’s not hard to see why. The Excellence in Teaching award goes to a teacher who has gone above and beyond to be the best teacher he or she can be. A nominee is selected out of the faculty members by students or fellow co-workers each year. There are usually 8-10 faculty nominated. “It’s a great honor to be nominated,” Ms. Wooten said of her nomination. After an extensive process with paperwork and an interview, the winner will be chosen by a panel of her peers and one administrator. Fingers crossed she gets it!
The thing Ms. Wooten loves the most about her job is being able to walk into a classroom and make a difference in students’ lives. “To see their eyes light up when they finally ‘get’ a concept I’ve been teaching them about is cool. The job never gets old,” she says. Kristy also loves teaching her students what she knows about composition and literature, being the brilliant scholar that she is.
As a single mom of two teenage boys, Kristy doesn’t always have a lot of time for herself. When she does, she likes to tend to her yard, spend time with her close friends, and enjoy a glass of wine on occasion. Her favorite place to vacation is the Outer Banks, and she absolutely loves Pride and Prejudice.
When you walk into Ms. Wooten’s office you will immediately see all of her posters adorning the walls (as pictured below). Kristy is passionate about her love for Duke basketball, Cold Play, and Foo Fighters.
What she loves about herself is her strong personality & strength, toughness, sense of compassion, and ability to empathize with others. However, we all have things we don’t like about ourselves. Kristy says her least favorite things about herself are her tendency to second-guess others and being somewhat of a control-freak. That is something I know I can identify with.
Of her body, she loves her facial features and good skin that her mother has blessed her with, but she is least happy about her weight.
I’ve been a size 6 and I’ve been as big as a size 26. Even at both ends of the spectrum, I’ve found reasons to be unhappy with my body, and that’s not good. This year, I’ve made it my goal to simply be healthier and lose weight for that reason, not for aesthetic reasons, and so far, I’ve done well.”
To me, what makes Ms. Wooten so extraordinary is the beauty that she radiates when you’re around her. Some people you meet and you just know that they are special. Ms. Wooten is one of those people. Her heart and spirit are illuminating and uplifting.
Her definition of beauty:
True beauty is in a person’s spirit. Yes, there is physical beauty, but that is in the proverbial “eye of the beholder.” Physical attractiveness is subjective. To me, real beauty comes through in a person’s spirit…their personality, their sense of compassion for others, their positive “vibe,” etc.
So how is Kristy redefining beauty? See for yourself.
A concern I have had since I hit my 30s and because I see young women every day in my classroom, has been the pressures that are put on young women to look a certain way or to be a certain size. The media has great influence on that perception of what is the right size, the right hair to have, the right way to look. I’ve seen how these pressures negatively influence young women’s self-esteem, and it saddens me. I hope that in some way that I have been able to be a role model to these young women by showing them that beauty comes in all shapes and sizes. I may be a plus-size woman, but I know I’m beautiful on the outside AND the inside, and no one will convince me otherwise.”
I consider myself extremely lucky to have had the chance to learn from Ms.Wooten. She is one of the few teachers that I can say have inspired me be to be a better person.
Thank you, Ms. Wooten, for everything.