Teacher honored with award

Elka Wyatt

The Shirley Trembley Distinguished Teaching Award recipient is a member of the Bakersfield College faculty who exemplifies outstanding teaching and service to a discipline.
This person is a full-time professor at Bakersfield College for more than ten years and demonstrates excellence in teaching effectiveness, expertise in discipline, accessibility to students and service to a discipline.
Emily Hurlbert is the 2008 recipient of this award.
Nominated by one of her academic department colleagues, Hurlbert can’t remember not wanting to be a teacher. Her parents were the most influential people in her life, especially her mother, who taught school for over 40 years.
“She was always the first-grade teacher all the parents wanted their children to have,” remembers Hurlbert.
Hurlbert taught second grade for two years after completing college but quit to become a full-time wife and mother. She became involved with her children’s schools and teachers. It was then that she realized that she still belonged in a classroom teaching, but not in an elementary school setting.
When her oldest child went away to college, and her youngest went into kindergarten, she started working on a master’s degree in education with an emphasis in reading at the University of Colorado at Denver.
Though she faced a 60-mile commute to attend night classes, she knew the end result would be worth it. Her first job was teaching English at Colorado Mountain College in Breckenridge, Colo.
A member of the faculty at Bakersfield College since 1994, she is currently a professor of developmental education.
Letters of support from former students accompanied the nomination packet that was submitted for her.
“You are one of the extremely few teachers that have made a significant difference in my life,” wrote one student.
Hurlbert tries to create the appropriate environment to encourage students to learn and grow in her classroom.
She has learned over the years that she has developed her teaching style not by listening to advice, but by watching other teachers and sharing ideas with them.
Hurlbert suggests to students who are interested in entering the field of education to watch their professors closely and learn from them.
One message that she would like to convey to all students at Bakersfield College is to, “realize that they are all capable of being successful if they are willing to choose the behaviors it takes for success and are willing to work hard to reach their goals.”