Martin ends 33-year career at RCCC

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 12, 2006

AHOSKIE – No more tests to be graded. No more essays to be read.

No more comma splices or dangling modifiers to fix.

An era has come to an end.

The Spring Semester has ended and so has the 35-year career of Cheryl Elaine Martin, former Department Chair of AA/AS/General Education, who, at the end of May, turned off the lights and locked the door on her 33 years at Roanoke-Chowan Community College.

The recently retired Martin said she really thought about retiring “when one of my students came up after class and said, ‘You taught my grandmother.’”

Further inducement to retire came when she realized how little time and energy she had after school to do the things she needed and wanted to do.

“I want time to take trips with my mother, play with my cats (Peter, Jane, Cyrus, Charlie and recently adopted Dorothy L.), care for my rose garden as it should be cared for, design and plant other gardens, read and reread mysteries, learn to paint with watercolors, go to the beach with my sister Francine, really clean my house and so many other things.”

With the college just beginning to offer developmental courses in 1973, Martin became a reading instructor, shortly after graduating from Appalachian State University with an M.A. in reading.

“I recently found my first class roster,” Martin said, “and could clearly picture the students in that class and my classroom, a small room in the Shed House (which was a small building constructed by light construction students).

As time passed, Martin was assigned one English course to teach and then more English courses were assigned to her.

However, someone eventually realized that Martin did not have a degree in

English and convinced her that it would be no problem getting her master’s in English.

Thus, she enrolled in an English master’s program at East Carolina University.

Martin said, “I wouldn’t say it was no problem, but I did enjoy the commute to Greenville with my friend and co-worker Carolyn Mitchell [who retired from RCCC in 1998] and I enjoyed most of the courses.”

Eventually, Martin became co-chair of the English Department; then she became chair of English.

From 2001-2002, she served as co-director of the College’s 2002 SACS Reaffirmation Self-Study.

It was during this time frame that she accepted the position of program chair for College Transfer and General Education while continuing to serve as lead faculty in English.

In addition to the positions she held while at the college, she also served on a number of committees, such as employee search committees and the Executive Management Council.

Plus, she was chosen on two separate occasions as the college’s Excellence in Teaching Award recipient.

“I love teaching,” Martin said, “and I like the challenge of teaching a variety of subjects and levels.

In my 33 years here, I have taught non-readers to read and college freshmen to write critiques and syntheses.

I have also taught reading methods and phonics to early childhood students.

“However, I find that teaching developmental English and helping students make the adjustment from middle or high school level to college level work to be most rewarding.

I really enjoy teaching developmental students and seeing those students master a new skill or understand a concept that they had not understood before.”

“Even with all my plans, I would be really saddened to be leaving my students and friends here at RCCC if I did not plan to return in January to teach part time.

I am looking on this time as an extended vacation from which, like MacArthur, I shall return!”

Originally from and currently residing in Conway, Martin shares a house with her mother, Violet.

Martin has one sister, Francine, Regional Librarian at the North Carolina Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, and a niece Ruth Elaine.

Also, she is a member of Conway United Methodist Church, where she teaches the older elementary Sunday school class.