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Celeb teaching couple: John and Linda Bartelt

Sometimes you will get an amazing teacher who sparks your interest in a subject, inspires you to be a better person and makes you feel good about life in general. Teaching-duo John and Linda Bartelt are the perfect example of the teachers every student wishes they had. The best classes are the ones you go into after a stressful day and come out of feeling positive and rejuvinated- I know, that doesn’t happen often, but John and Linda’s class does exactly that. We asked them a few questions to get to know them better, but if there was only one thing they could say, we are sure it would be, “put as much love into the world as you can!”

1. Where are your hometowns?
John: I was born in Accra, Ghana (West Africa) and raised all over the world (throughout Central and South America, Europe, Scandinavia, and the West Indies) because my father was a diplomat for the State Department. I didn’t move to the U.S. until I was 15. Internally, I consider my “home culture” to be Latin America (minus all the machismo crap), although I’ve been in California for so many years now that dude I should like totally take up surfing.
Linda: I was born in Downey, California and lived in several different states for short periods of time, but ultimately settled into the San Gabriel Valley.
2. What college did you attend?
John: Alan Hancock, La Verne, Chapman, and U.S. International University; majored in Philosophy, Education, Criminal Justice, Counseling Psychology, and Human Behavior.
Linda: Citrus College, University of La Verne; majored in Education and Educational Technology.
3. What made you want to become professors?
John: I originally wanted to be a Latin-flavored rock star. I did make a living composing and orchestrating music for a while, as well as computer programming, counseling, theatre, and several other things, but I kept going back to teaching like a boomerang.
Linda: I originally taught young children, and realized that I would be more effective teaching at the college level, especially to people who need a little extra encouragement.
Both: Teaching gives us the most hope for the future, because we see so much promise in the faces of our students. It’s a lot of work, but the students inspire us to stay sharp and be the best people we can be. And co-teaching together is the most rewarding and enlightening experience imaginable for both of us.
4. How did you find La Verne and why did you stay?
John: I first taught here for years as an off-campus Adjunct, and then jumped at the chance to be on the main campus full-time.
Linda: I found out about La Verne from my community college, and enjoyed the camaraderie with my professors and fellow students.We both love co-teaching, and we enjoy La Verne in particular because of its diversity, and its small class sizes.
5. How did you meet, and end up together?
We met at La Verne, and were friends for about a year before we started dating.
6. What is the most inspiring thing about him/her?
John: Linda’s ability to see “the bigger picture” in any situation really grounds me.
Linda: I admire how John is able to see everybody’s heart regardless of their situation.
7. What is your favorite part about teaching?
We love the interaction we have with the students, and the knowledge that what they will take with them will make a positive difference in the lives of their students in the future. It’s amazing to play a part in a much larger ripple effect. It’s also challenging and fun to play devil’s advocate just to make students think outside of their own usual box of upbringing and enculturation.
8. What do you do on your free time together?
What free time together? Seriously, we don’t have much of that. The way we teach involves our planning and energies almost around the clock. But when we do have a little extra time, we enjoy watching a movie together. We also like to ride our Trikkes. (A Trikke is a human-powered three-wheeled contraption that you essentially ski down the street. It’s tremendous fun, and great exercise.)
9. What social issues are most important to you and why?
There are three major issues that are important to us: (1) LGBTQ rights, because we see that as one of the most pressing social justice and human rights issues of our time; (2) Immigration rights, because human beings are a migratory species, and it’s not right that families already grounded in this country are being torn apart, while people like John (who didn’t grow up here) were born with a golden passport; and (3) Socio-economic and racial equity (which we see as intertwined), given the obscene disparities created in this country by hundreds of years of legislated apartheid.
10. What courses do you teach and why do you love teaching them?
Most recently, we’re teaching Foundations in Education, Child Development, Diversity, and Human Sexuality. We began teaching Human Sexuality together because we really wanted perspectives from both genders, and then realized how much we love teaching everything possible together.
11. What is a fun/interesting fact about you?
One of our daughters, and her boyfriend, are enrolled in our Human Sexuality class this term. We honestly don’t think much about it, and there’s nothing we haven’t already discussed at home, but other people seem to find that interesting because they can’t imagine talking with their parents at all about that topic.
Brooke is an aspiring journalist attending the University of La Verne in Southern California. She has a knack for all things adventurous and food related. When she isn't writing for Her Campus or the Campus Times you can find her taking pictures of her award-winning cat or eating various types of cheese.
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