English teacher explores her passion for literature and language
A look behind the scenes of Pam Garvey
BY: MAX WILSON
Meramec professor Pamela Garvey didn’t always know she would be teaching literature and composition to students.
“I went to college as an undergrad student and had no idea what I would do, and I liked a lot of things. But what I really liked was reading literature, and I liked literature and language, ”she said.
Garvey decided to major in English with a minor in Spanish. “In both cases, I focused on literature,” Garvey said.
After graduation, Garvey worked in insurance. “I hated it. I liked the pay; I hated the job. It was very soulless. And I don’t criticize the people who do it, it just wasn’t me.
Garvey quit and found a job at a bookstore. “I got in trouble all the time reading books at work, which I found funny, because it was a bookstore,” Garvey said.
After contacting teachers, an English teacher recommended Garvey to study English at a college.
“A few months later, I ran into my favorite Spanish teacher,” Garvey said. The professor told Garvey that she saw information about getting a doctorate in Spanish literature from Georgetown University.
“If I had spoken to him [the Spanish professor] before talking to my english teachers i would have done that [the Spanish literature PhD]… I loved both. I absolutely loved both.
Not wanting to go into debt anymore, Garvey knew she would have to get a full scholarship.
“When you get these assistantships and graduate scholarships, you’re teaching or tutoring or doing some sort of editing work with academic journals, and that’s what I really wanted to do,” Garvey said. “But they got me a tutor, and that was my entry into the classroom.”
After earning a master’s degree in fine arts, Garvey worked freelance. “[I did] All kinds of weird jobs, from business to science writing. Garvey has also taught part-time and said that while the freelance work was well paid, I didn’t feel like I had an impact on the world.
After moving to St. Louis for her ex-husband’s work, she taught at Washington University for two years before finding a job at Meramec.
“I set myself the goal of having five years to get a permanent tenure-track position, otherwise I would go to another field,” she said. “I got my job at Meramec and have been here ever since, and I have no regrets. It is infinitely more meaningful and useful than what I was doing before. “
Garvey said teaching at Meramec is especially important because “we have a lot of first generation students, we have a lot of students who have a lot of different things in their lives… which can take them away from it at any time. school and what the school has to offer them.
She also said that she appreciates the opportunity to share poetry.
“If you ask me, who do I want to share poetry with?” I want to share it with people who might not find it if they didn’t come to Meramec. I want to share it with people who are hungry for it. I want to share it with people who say, ‘Oh my God, this is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen,’ ”she said.
She said she also likes to inspire students. “I want to see students go in and out of a poetry writing class and feel proud of something they didn’t even know they could write,” she said. “My job is to empower others. By giving them access to language, literature and tools that can open more doors than I think.
Outside of school, Garvey is passionate about “my child, of course, and parenting.” I am passionate about travel and cultures, especially Spain and Latin America. Garvey described herself as a “healthy food fanatic” and said she loved to cook. “I love to cook curries. Indian cuisine is my favorite.
After the pandemic, when Garvey feels comfortable, she wants to return to the theater.
“Some of my favorite theaters across the country have done things through Zoom. And I watched it, and I enjoyed it. It’s not the same thing. I want to be in my place to watch it, ”she said.