Tracy Finch Hired as New English Professor

4 months ago Triangle 0
Photo: Tracy Finch

Written by Isabelle Hendrich, Editor-in-Chief 

Dayton, TN – Tracy Finch was hired as an English Professor at Bryan College for the fall of 2022. Finch is currently teaching four introductory composition classes. 

Finch was originally born in California, but she and her family moved to Arizona when she was eight. Because she has lived in Flagstaff, Arizona for over half of her life, Finch considers it to be where she is from. 

Finch graduated with her undergraduate degree from Walla Walla College, now titled Walla Walla University in Washington State. For her first masters degree, Finch majored in English Literature. Finch received her second masters from Lithuania Christan College (LCC), majoring  in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages). 

Concerning her masters in TESOL, Finch said, “That degree helped my teaching a lot because it made me think even more strategically about exactly what to cover in class.” 

After she graduated from college with her first masters, Finch taught in St. Petersburg, Russia. It was her first time teaching and living in a forign country. 

“It took a lot of adjustment getting used to people looking at me. I’m in control of this entire class period, how I do things makes a difference for what happened in the classroom. So just getting used to teaching was a huge adjustment,” Finch said. 

Photo: Tracy Finch (Left: Tracy Finch Right: Dr. Michael Finch, professor of Communication at Bryan College) 

Finch said that it was also difficult to get students to talk and have discussions in the classroom since Russia’s culture is very authoritarian. Despite this, the students were very willing to learn. 

“The students were very studious and industrious. They really wanted to learn English because they knew they could get a better job if they could speak English. And they were very focused on grammar and their mistakes. They wanted to end up with perfect English and so I would say it really kept me on my toes,” Finch said.  

After teaching in Russia, Finch moved back to the U.S. and taught at a private language school in New York on Long Island. Finch also worked at a community college and spent several years in career services. 

Another unique place Finch lived in was Nepal for nine months. While Finch thought she was going to teach English there, she ended up doing many different activities, including substitute teaching, organizing the local hospital’s Christmas program and translating a cantina’s menu into English. Finch also fundraised enough money to give a computer lab to the hospital and local school. “I would say probably my biggest impact was the fundraising and being able to leave the equipment after I left,” Finch said.

Having taught all over the world, Finch noted one of the biggest joys for her is spending time with students outside of the classroom and having them share their culture with her. 

“I think that relationship building is really where you can apply what you learned in the classroom, you can really see how it makes a difference. I think for students, I hope, when I could spend time with my professors in college, it was something special,” Finch said.

Finch has traveled a lot in her life, to countries such as Russia, Lithuania, Nepal, Turkey, Finland, Germany, France, the Netherlands and Singapore. 

“If you approach travel right, then it opens up your understanding about people and cultures. Ideally, you should be more accepting of people. I really learned that there is more than one way to do things, and that is okay. Just getting to know people for people, rather than representing their country that they are from,” Finch said. 

Finch started teaching English and composition at LCC in Lithuania after she earned her masters in TESOL from LCC. In her second year of teaching at LCC, Finch’s classes were moved online due to the pandemic. 

“It was challenging as a teacher because you don’t plan your classes to be online unless you are teaching online, so that was a huge adjustment. It was disappointing for me, a big reason to be in Lithuania  at LCC is to be in person with the students,” Finch said. 

Another challenging aspect of teaching at LCC online was that the students were there to travel and learn abroad. Finch noted that with online classes, the teacher and students do not get as much out of their time, relationally and academically since they could not converse in person. 

While teaching at LCC, Finch met Dr. Michael Finch, her now husband and professor of the Communication, Culture, and Media department at Bryan College. Finch and Dr. Finch got married in the summer of 2021. They both now live in Dayton, TN. 

Isabelle Hendrich is a senior communication major and history minor at Bryan College. Besides running, Hendrich likes to read and do crafts. She is a triplet whose siblings, Benjamin and Savannah, are also attending Bryan College.