Jacob van Ruiten: Retired Public Educator of 35 Years Continues to Teach Part-Time at Sierra College
I’ve been an adjunct in Human Development for almost 20 years. I had been an elementary school teacher for eleven years, a principal for 10 years and was working as a Curriculum Director in Sacramento County when a colleague asked if I had ever thought about teaching at the community college level. I hadn’t, but after discovering that my MA in Early Childhood qualified me to teach in Human Development/ECE programs, I applied at Sierra. I taught night classes for the next 10 or 12 years, while still serving as a curriculum director in Rio Linda, then as assistant superintendent in the Roseville City School District. I loved the opportunity to work with adult students and hopefully share some of what I had learned in my career and personal life in my Human Development classes.
After 35 years in public education, I retired from my “big boy job”. As soon as the department folks at Sierra found that out, they offered me more sections. I consider myself a classic Baby Boomer in transition. I went from full time work in education to layering part time work at Sierra, and then to expanded part time in “retirement.” I’ve been teaching spring, summer, and fall since 2008. It keeps me involved in education and the extra income allows for some cool travel (during those convenient semester breaks!) and extra “spoiling” money to spend on the grandchildren.
I believe I have gotten as much from my 20 years as an adjunct as my students have, maybe even more. I hope to keep teaching into the future, but knowing I have the flexibility to accommodate personal needs at the same time is invaluable.