by REBEKAH HARVEY
For Stephen Sanders, South Plains College has always been a part of his life.
Sanders, who was born in Lubbock, lived in Levelland until he graduated from SPC with his Associate of Arts degree in English in 1994. After SPC, Sanders attended West Texas A&M University in Canyon, Texas,where he pursued a double major in English and speech.
“I was hired in the middle of my student teaching semester to take an English position at Nazareth, Texas,” said Sanders. “After a year there, I moved to Levelland and taught at Levelland High in 1998.”
While teaching at Levelland High School, Sanders began working on his master’s degree in English and creative writing from Texas Tech University, where he graduated in 2008. Eight years later, Sanders was hired as an English instructor at SPC.
While working at Levelland High School, Sanders got the idea to write his first novel. The novel, which is an urban fantasy, is titled “Passe-Partout.” The novel tells the stories of two characters, Amos and Cyprus, who live centuries apart. Cyprus uses writing to bridge the gap between generations and understand Amos’ story. The novel was published this year and recently put on Amazon Kindle.
In 2007, Sanders married his wife Kristy, who is a physical education teacher at Capitol Elementary in Levelland. Sanders and his wife also have a son, Stellan, who was born in 2012.
For Sanders, deciding to attend SPC as a college student was an easy choice to make.
“I grew up about six blocks from the Levelland campus,” said Sanders. “So I felt it was the next logical step for me after high school.”
Sanders said he wasn’t ready to attend a large university. He said he wouldn’t have been as prepared for college if he hadn’t attended SPC.
“I was fortunate in my decision to attend here, because when I started in 1992, I was not ready for a large university,” said Sanders. “I had to grow up a bit more and learn how to be successful in the college setting.”
Sanders says that his favorite thing about teaching at SPC is the people.
“I have great students who are motivated to learn and who want to do well,” said Sanders. “Everyone here is always so kind, so generous, to their students and to each other.”
Sanders also praises his department chair, Sharon Race.
“Everyone should be so lucky to have a Sharon Race as their chair,” he said.
As a professor, Sanders said he likes the opportunities he has to truly “geek out” with students about English.
“English is the only subject that is truly integral to success in any major at any American university,” he explained. “So everyone has to take at least one Composition and Rhetoric course.”
To Sanders, classes such as Composition and Rhetoric courses don’t have to be an agonizing experience.
“I’ve found that if a teacher truly loves their subject and works to communicate that love to their classes,” said Sanders, “students will look forward to attending the class and will work hard in that class.”
This spring, Sanders is teaching Composition 2 and Creative Writing. Last fall, he taught Composition 1, along with the classes he currently teaches.