My name is Blake Ray, and I am a part-time English instructor at Kennesaw State University. I have also taught at Brown Mackie College, Georgia Highlands College, and Chattahoochee Technical College—all as a part-time or adjunct instructor. Before teaching at colleges, I worked as a tutor and even spent one ill-advised semester as a permanent substitute at a private high school (teenagers are a challenge to be sure).
I love teaching. It is my passion. I think, or rather know, that this is because I am lucky enough to teach writing. I get to teach rhetoric, argument, and self-expression, and there is nothing quite like having a student come to me and tell me that their friends (or family or co-workers) have noticed that they are speaking more clearly or seem more “put together.” Those moments are what I live for.
In addition to teaching, I work as a freelance content editor, am a writer of short stories and films, and have even published some poetry. Writing is very important to me. It makes a difference in people’s lives, and that, making a difference, is part of my core ideals.
Prior to getting my MAPW degree and embarking on my pedagogical odyssey, I was an undergrad at the University of Georgia with no real direction. I, quite reasonable in my opinion at the time, decided to play in a punk rock band and take a lot of philosophy courses. After a couple years of that, I realized that most of what I was doing was either navel gazing or shaking my fist at clouds. I needed to do something that made a difference. That’s where philosophy actually stepped in and served me well.
The philosopher Jeremy Bentham proposed a utilitarian system of ethics that really spoke to me when I read about it. Without getting too bogged down in the details, it basically said that the rightness of an action could be determined by how much good it did for how many people and how much pain or suffering it averted. From that, it can be extrapolated that one with more ability has a greater obligation to help. In other words, “With great power, comes great responsibility.” This made a lot of sense to a recovering comic book nerd with a box full of Spider-man comics still stashed in the back of a closet at his mother’s house.
So the question became, for me, what was my great power? I had always liked helping people to understand things. It was something that came naturally to me. I was also a decent writer. I combined the two and have never been happier with a choice in my life.
That journey is what brought me to where I am today. I am a teacher first and foremost. I want to help students learn and expand their worldviews. I think that it is important, and I think it is imperative to do something with one’s life that is, at least to that person, important.