By Angel Malone
CCC Journalism Program
Assistant English Professor Claire Berger looks to keep her classes focused on participation and class evaluation.
Berger teaches the honors English composition classes at Camden County College. Students who stand up and participate through sharing their essays for open evaluation, reading a poem aloud or giving a research paper evaluation have become more comfortable with the information and in turn have learned more in class.
Former Honors English Composition I and II student Coraima Medellin states, “I liked that even though I wasn’t in a public speaking class, I was forced out of my comfort zone by constantly presenting in front of the class. At first, it caught me off guard, but once I got used to it not only did I come out of my comfort zone in class, but I also came out of my comfort zone all throughout campus.”
Berger is the only professor to introduce Shakespeare plays into her English composition classes at Camden County College. She says the plays are vital to be shared with her classes.
“I like him so much for a number of reasons,” she states, adding her number one reason is “his insight into human nature. You can apply what he says into everyday life and learn something about yourself and other human beings.”
She says she feels guiding students to apply what they’ve learned in the classroom to everyday life is important to teaching. Berger says she believes in looking at the bigger picture, not the small details.
“What they’ve learned in the classroom … I think that’s one of the greatest accomplishments,” she states.
Not only does she love to teach, but she loves to learn. One of Berger’s goals is to get a Ph.D.
“I would like to take advanced writing courses, advanced Shakespeare courses … the best part about teaching is that you can always improve,” she says.
Berger has been a professor at Camden County College for 20 years and is the winner of the 2001 Lindback Distinguished Teaching Award. Ten of her students have been winners of a Holcombe, a writing award. Three of her former students are attending the University of Pennsylvania and five will start attending in the 2014 fall semester.