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College professors are going back to high school

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Dual enrollment courses have recently been offered for students to take at Eagle Rock Jr./Sr. High, and college professors are making their way down the life cycle, teaching kids in 9th, 11th, and 12th, instead of the usual adults. These courses are more advanced, allow opportunities for students to obtain college credit, and prepare them for what college will be if they choose to go. A broad range of classes are offered, including Health 11, Art History 120, Communication Studies, Sociology, Child Development, and Psychology. They also allow for the benefit of having up to 3 periods a week to rest or study.

Some professors have taught dual enrollment for years, like Professor Angela Lessing, Professor Anahit Havonisyan, and Professor Robert Sneed. Their experiences have varied from school to school. However, they admit that they have found a lively community of ambitious students here at ERHS. Even though it isn’t their typical environment, all of them say it’s gratifying and beneficial to be around such zealous scholars.

Professor Lessing has taught dual enrollment since 2019 and teaches Art History for 9th graders. She decided to do this because she wanted to supplement high school students' journey to college. This year, she got stuck with the lowest tier of high schoolers, the freshmen. She says, “9th graders are still learning to be students, and figuring things out for themselves.” So far, her class is running smoothly, despite having the youngest kids in the program.

All photos taken by Claire Duarte - Professor Angela Lessing

Lessing’s style of teaching is no different from how she educates her adult students. “I don’t change the material or for my dual enrollment classes, unless the school has a conflict with the ideas within the material.” This allows opportunities for more freedom for the students to learn independently and work in their own ways. “Though it’s a huge responsibility to take on a college class, they are brave enough to want to do this challenge.”

A fun fact about Professor Lessing is that she is a true Eagle Rock-onion who grew up right down the lane from ERHS. She truly understands the place where most of the students come from culturally, mentally, and physically. Undeniably and utterly impressed with the size of the campus, students were quick to reassure her it was an average size for a school. Lessing also remarked on the great sense of community and friendship here. “It’s a different type of atmosphere than college. Everyone seems to know each other and is giggling all the time, which is better than everyone being isolated.” It may get noisy in her class at times but it's all part of the plot.

For Professor Robert Sneed, it’s been a completely different story. He has been teaching since the medieval times (the 90’s). “You’ll never know if you don’t ask,” is a great way to describe how Robert got his job, he simply asked for it. Sneed is the kind of man who can ramble about stories of his past and hold the attention of an entire class the whole time. He has a very bright personality and is easy to get along with, or maybe he’s using some psychological trick on us. We’ll never know, he is the Psychology professor, after all.

Professor Robert Sneed

Clever, deceptive, and intelligent are all words that can describe Professor Sneed. With his knowledge of how high school students work, he likes to manipulate them, just a little bit. Using a simple point system, he can captivate everyone into learning while earning something. “I try to get every student involved. So I have a point system in class where I offer points to answer questions. It tends to work because most of them count towards the exams.”

“The big difference between high school students is that they aren’t as serious as adults when it comes to learning. Most are still focused on their high school learning instead of college learning. You have to force them to focus on listening.” Though this has been a challenge for him, he perseveres and hopes to introduce them to what a real college education looks like by taking them on a field trip to LACC in all of its glory for the full experience.

Anahit Hovanisyan is a woman of many talents. Her skills range from Child Development professor to an autism specialist, all the way to working with kids who are disabled. Dual enrollment came with her job when she accepted the position and she’s loved it ever since. One of her favorite things about it is making connections with her students and building trust with them.

Professor Anahit Hovanisyan

She's a girlboss at heart and understands different kids’ needs to learn, which she takes into account and incorporates into how she teaches. “So because of the knowledge and experience that I have, I can help individual students and meet their needs. I can meet them where they are and build from that.” Anahit is truly mindful of how each kid works and adapts her style of teaching to something that will engage them and benefit them.

Professor Hovanisyan has taught at Eagle Rock High once before. It was during the COVID-19 lockdown. Of course, it was a different type of environment, but she persisted and got through it. “It was challenging in the beginning, but I think it was challenging for every individual during that time. It was doable, and we were able to do it. We had a very successful class and students were impressed because they learned a lot from the course.” They grew fond of her for her effort during the difficult time, so they asked her to come back this year.

Crazily enough, all of these wonderful professors will only be staying this semester. Sadly, it is too late to join these courses. However, if you are interested in taking future courses, head down to the college center and talk to Ms. Marquez, our sublime college counselor. She can help you apply for these courses, and you, too, will have the chance to be taught by these marvelous college professors.

Choosing the Eagle Rock x LACC college course collection will ultimately benefit you in the long run. Whether you take Professor Sneed’s class for Psychology, or Art History with Professor Lessing, you’ll have a lot of fun and gain so much knowledge, and we all know that knowledge is power.

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