gratifying to teach at SMC because you can really feel your students
getting fired up over learning.”
In the Padilla
family there seems to be a genetic gift for making full use of
both sides of the brain. “I’m teaching composition and
literature at SMC,” says Ernest Padilla, who has a PhD in
literature. “But I also teach algebra, pre-algebra, and statistics
here which I could never do at a four-year university.” Ernest
credits the encouragement of his colleagues for creating a near
ideal teaching environment.
a very collegial thing here that allows people to teach to their
strengths, to do what we do with real joy,” he says. “The
level of teaching is so tremendous. And then, of course, there
are the students themselves,” he continues. “They’re
assertive, bright, aggressive people who come to our college.
They’re inspiring and impressive to teach.”
his involvement in the dual worlds of math and literature to one
of his own teachers. “I was a math major but I had a really
excellent composition teacher,” he recalls. “She inspired
me to read Thomas Hardy and to do some writing of my own.”
And the rest is history.
currently inspiring some literary history of his own at SMC. “I’m
the publisher of the new SMC Press,” he says. “We’ve
done about seven books in the past year and a half. Our emphasis
is on third-world people in the U.S., minorities, women and young
writers. Any money we make in book sales, we put right back into
our students.” Ernest is ably helped in his literary publishing
by his daughter, an SMC student. “She does the designs for
most of our books,” says the proud father. “She’s
getting A’s and B’s in math and the same in her graphics
and arts classes.” It’s just the Padilla family way.