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Lee: You need to do in life what you love.
Lanier Technical College accounting instructor Christie Lee goes over the answers to a homework assignment. - photo by Tom Reed | The Times

Christie Lee | Lanier Technical College

Going from the professional world to the educational realm was the best move for Christie Lee.

The 12-year teaching veteran of Lanier Tech actually was an employee of the college before applying for an open teaching position.

“I guess I just always knew I wanted to teach,” she said.

Why did you choose teaching?
“... I didn’t really know that I wanted to teach at the collegiate level until I was in college. And as nerdy as it probably sounds, I think I could be a lifetime college student because I really enjoyed going to college. ... When I went to college I majored in accounting, knew that I really liked it, really didn’t know how to get into teaching. ... Then I got hired here in the business office as a staff accountant. And it just was crazy how it worked out. I had not been here even a year when the instructor position for the accounting department came open, and so I applied for it and ended up getting it.”

“... I think what I look for the most is that time when you can see that the students really get it, when that light bulb goes on. And I think that’s what keeps me going, is whenever I see that the students are understanding, or you do something that really works with them ... And I think another thing, too, is having students come back later on down the road and say, ‘I really couldn’t have got through that if it hadn’t been for your help.’ I think that’s pretty neat.”

Most memorable teaching moment
“I work with a lot of nontraditional students, and a lot of them are older than I am. They’ve been laid off from jobs, and when they first come here they don’t really have any self-confidence. And so they come in thinking, ‘I can’t do this.’ And so you really work with them to get them through the program, and then they go across the stage at graduation and get to hug your neck. And then they get out and they actually get a job doing what you trained them to do, and so they come back and say ... ‘I’m using what you trained me to do, and I just appreciate it.’”

Advice for other teachers
“I’m a firm believer that you need to do in life what you love. I know a lot of people who have jobs who hate what they do, and I jut think, especially in the teaching profession, if you don’t love what you do it kind of flows into the classroom and I think the students know that. So I think you just gotta make sure you stay true to what you enjoy.”