ACC Associate Spotlight: GraceAnn Clark
GraceAnn Clark loves to hear three words from her students.
"My three favorite words are, 'You were right,'" Clark said before a recent Inspire Club meeting at American Career College-Long Beach. "I feel like the best part of my job is when students come back and they tell me that it all paid off. They come back with their diploma, they come back with their job, with their certification and this glow and sense of pride about themselves that they didn't have the day they walked into my classroom. So that's my favorite part."
More friends and family members have been inspired to enroll at ACC by students from Clark's medical assistant classes than any other instructor. Clark, who was born and raised in Long Beach, said she feels a strong bond to the community and can relate to students who come from the area.
"I think that my students genuinely have a good time in class," she said. "I think that they value their education and I think that it’s such an open field to be inspired by that a lot of people want to help somebody else take the next step and move forward in their career and their life."
"I love that I know I’m going to come here and I'm going to make a difference. And maybe it's not in everybody's life but it's somebody's and just one person is enough for me."
Why did you get into healthcare?
My life was going nowhere. I was doing nothing. I was unemployed. I was applying for jobs and interviewing for jobs that I was way overqualified for and I couldn't get past the receptionist or I couldn’t get past the front door. That was frustrating to me because I knew my worth and I knew that I was better than that, but deep down inside I knew I needed that education to back me up too. So I took the lead and I went to medical assisting school and the entire time I was there I kept kicking myself telling myself that I should have gone sooner, but timing is everything and I believe that's why I'm here now.
What inspires you?
My students inspire me. They inspire me more than anything. We use a lot of energy back and forth. They play off my energy. I play off of theirs. My co-workers inspire me, my family, being able to teach in the city that I grew up in and the city that gave me so much inspires me.
What do you like most about teaching at ACC?
The best part about instructing is getting others to find motivation in themselves, getting others to believe in themselves and the process, and that eventually all your sacrifices will pay off. It's hard for people to see the light at the end of that tunnel sometimes, because that light seems so far away. But if you just take it day by day, it's a lot less distance to travel.
What's the No. 1 thing you try to tell students?
Trust yourself. Trust the process. Trust your instructors. Trust the people who are around you to help you do the right thing. Trust is a big issue and sometimes we can't trust ourselves, so if you can't trust yourself, trust the process. Trust me. Trust everybody around you who's saying that it's working. Let it go.
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