It’s important for teachers to build relationships with their students. Many teachers will say it’s one of the defining characteristics of student success. One assistant professor at ASU-Newport (ASUN) goes beyond just building a relationship with her students. She literally uses parts of her life to teach, all they have to do is open their textbook.
Lori Hutton is an assistant professor of English on the ASUN-Jonesboro campus. She’s been with ASUN for five years but has been in the teaching profession for 23 years. This summer, her students will open their textbook to find a surprise — a textbook written by the woman standing in front of them.
Lori Hutton, assistant professor of English at ASUN-Jonesboro
Hutton has edited and contributed chapters to many textbooks, but White’s 12 Components of Composition is the first she wrote entirely on her own. With the help of her colleague and ASUN Assistant Professor of Speech Bruce Smock, Hutton got in contact with KONA Publishing to create the book.
“Smock was very supportive and helped me get this opportunity,” Hutton said.
The textbook is very conversational in tone. Hutton said that is key to her teaching style and in helping students actually learn.
“These writing skills are so important to learn because you are going to write in every single class,” Hutton said. “I kind of see myself as a mama hen to these students because I’m teaching them how to be college students. It’s about teaching study skills, being your own support system, knowing you can do what you set your mind to.”
One of the ways Hutton is teaching with this textbook is by including many personal experiences and examples involving her family. She said it can be intimidating at times to teach through her own words. She finds it to be very personal, but it’s a way she can keep all of her instructions conversational.
Her personal life gave her inspiration, but it’s also something that can be difficult to balance when trying to write a book. It took her 10 months to write the 12 chapter book.
She’s a mother of three. Hutton said she finds balance by prioritizing time to write. On weekends the kids may be away, she would write. Every night she set aside an hour just to write. To have the family together, everyone would gather around the kitchen table and work on individual projects, and she would write.
Why give up so much of her time to write a textbook considering there are many out there to choose from? She loves it.
Lori Hutton taking a look a the e-book version of her textbook.
“I think I’ve known since first or second grade I wanted to teach and write,” Hutton said.
She loves encouraging students. She said having students come back and thank her is beyond satisfying.
“I’m making a difference,” Hutton said. “From teaching English as a Second Language courses to GED courses and all the ones in between, my job makes all other jobs possible.”
Hutton has no plans of slowing down. She turns 49 later this year and feels this time in her life is extremely significant.
“It’s finally coming together,” Hutton said. “I think 50 is my magic number. I’m beginning to come into my own. I’m starting to see my work thrive, and I’m really just looking forward to the future.”
As for the future, expect to see more work under her pen name L.M. White. In fact, she’s working on a novel she hopes to complete and get published soon. She’s already been contacted to work on another textbook as well.
Hutton sees this is not just a great opportunity for herself but also ASU-Newport. She said her relationship with KONA has opened many doors that could lead to the college’s involvement in more books being published. There is no doubt Hutton contributes greatly to the success of students and in turn the success of ASU-Newport.