Brianna McCabe, Adjunct Professor Kean University, Business and Professional Communications
I started teaching at Kean right in the middle of the pandemic. I have to admit, it was a steep learning curve, as public speaking is a challenge to teach virtually. Also, a lot of compassion was needed as a teacher, as there were a lot of students that got sick, or students that had family members that were sick. But I think they still learned a lot and honed in on their skills. Now I am in my third semester, and the university asked me to launch a new course that has never been done there before, called Branding and Message Development, which I am so excited about.
My biggest inspiration and encouragement to be the teacher I am today was this one professor I had while I was getting my Masters. He really believed in me so much, and he empowered me so much. He was really like a father figure for me, which meant a lot to me, because my father wasn’t in my life while I was growing up.
I never had a relationship with my father. I was raised by a single mom. I was probably two or three when my mother and father got divorced. He had cheated on my mom. My mom found out when my mother and father went to my father’s brother’s funeral and the other woman showed up, not realizing he was married. It was so crazy, the whole thing.
So, they separated, and I was supposed to see him every other weekend, but he just stopped coming around. I do remember one time when I was 16 years old, I was cheering in high school, and this random man sat next to me in the stands, and he started talking to me. And I was like, ‘Who are you?’ And he said, ‘You don’t know who I am?’ And I said, ‘No.’ And he said, ‘I’m your dad.’ My face turned white, I looked like I saw a ghost, and my cheer coach was like, ‘Who is that?’ I didn’t even answer, I just got so upset that I ran to the locker room, and then went home. That was literally the last time I saw him, and I haven’t talked to him since.
Now that I am older and I look back on that moment, I understand why I reacted the way I did, that I just couldn’t process seeing my dad. If that was to happen to me now when I am 27, I wouldn’t run away, but would want a conversation and try to understand why he stopped coming around in my life when I was a little girl. But it’s a part of my story, and it makes me who I am, and I am really proud of the person I am today. I’ve been through a lot, but I always find the positive in it.
Interview by Gregory Andrus
You can find more of his work at www.portraitsofthejerseyshore.com