Thomas Rockson - Faculty Mentor | Thomas Nelson Community College

Thomas Rockson - Faculty Mentor

In a move to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 amid a surging new variant, Thomas Nelson (becoming Virginia Peninsula Community College) is switching most of its classes from in-person to virtual for the first two weeks of spring semester. Read more.

What is your teaching discipline?

English

What brought you to the area?

Hampton Roads feels a lot like the suburbs of Long Island, where I was born and raised; this area feels like home to me. I like the population, the busy-ness, and the variety of activities and cultural experiences Hampton Roads offers.

What is your teaching philosophy?

I have always believed that the best way to learn something is to teach it to someone else. (I thought I knew "writing" when I left graduate school; then I began teaching others to write....)

What do you hope your students take away from your courses?

If nothing else, I hope my classes will spark a bit of intellectual curiosity in my students. There's very little that can be taught to one who is not curious enough to learn. And once that curiosity takes hold, the learner becomes the teacher.

What do you like to do on the weekends?

I have been practicing the acoustic guitar for several years, and I also enjoy reading deeply into literary classics and history. I am a former fantasy role player, and have recently been exploring ways to get back into the world of RPGs (old school).

What is the most memorable place you have traveled to?

Tintagel, on the Cornwall coast of England. This is a tiny, medieval village located close to the ruins of a medieval castle that -- as the legend goes -- was the birthplace of King Arthur.

What is in your refrigerator right now?

You really don't want to know. I was away from my apartment through the winter break, and most of the food that stayed behind in my refrigerator is now rotten beyond recognition. I will soon make a clean sweep of the fridge and restock it with just the bare essentials -- milk, bread, cheese, cold cuts, (and some fruit that I probably won't eat).

What makes you laugh out loud?

I'm a big fan of Woody Allen, old Marx Brothers films, and political satire like The Daily Show (though I miss Jon Stewart).

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

Overcoming the burdens of low self-esteem and periodic depression, which I carried out of my teenage years, and eventually becoming successful in college and in my career. As a teen, I never imagined myself having any kind of life, much less a career in guiding others toward personal success. Rebuilding my self-confidence through education was a transformative experience for me, and I hope, through teaching, to help others achieve a similar self-transformation.

What is your greatest extravagance?

I eat in restaurants a lot! Since I am lousy at cooking, and I live alone, I indulge in restaurant food quite a bit. The amount I spend in restaurants each month is staggering.

Who is your hero?

Bruce Springsteen! (also, the student reading this profile and looking to push beyond his or her own expectations for personal growth and success)

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