STLCC Professor has an appreciation for teaching
English professor by day; Writer and wife by night. Elva Maxine Beach was raised in Raytown, Missouri. Raytown is a small town in western Missouri, specifically a suburb of Kansas City.
“I grew up in a working class neighborhood. Most people didn’t have high school educations. A lot of the kids that I grew up with in my neighborhood had no plans of going to college,” Beach said. It was through her home environment and high school that she received the inspiration to write.
“My high school was horrible. I had some good teachers. They influenced and inspired me,” Beach said. Beach proceeded to work at varies jobs like a janitor and a maid. It was through these jobs when she realized that she should go to college. Beach went on and attended classes at Saint Louis Community College-Forest Park.
“I loved Forest Park because I met people from all over the world. At the time Forest Park was the theatre campus for a lot of immigrant students so I learned just by other students.” said Beach.
Once she completed her time at Forest Park, she moved on to attending classes at Webster University. It was at Webster University that she was exposed to a different world of students.
“They [Webster’s students] were from a different world than I was exposed to, ever. I grew up working class and a lot of students at Webster had money. It’s a private school and they were primarily white. I wasn’t used to that. So that taught me something else.” Beach said.
Beach received her Bachelors of arts in Media Communication. Once she finished college, she obtained employment from CPI Corporation as an Advertising Copywriter. There she created ads for the corporation. During her time working for CPI, management wanted their employees to think “outside of the box.” It was then that they asked Beach to run creative thinking seminars for the employees. It was through these seminars she realized she wanted to become a teacher.
“I wanted to work with people like me. When I became a teacher, I wanted to teach at a community college because of my experience at Forest Park,” Beach said.
Before she taught at Saint Louis Community College, she taught for three years as a graduate teaching assistant at Louisiana State University. LSU hired her for a full-time teaching position, where she taught for a year.
There she taught Literature, Creative Writing, and Composition. After LSU, she taught for almost 10 years at Austin Community College in Austin, Texas.
Professor Beach is now an Assistant Professor of English. She has been teaching full time at Meramec since 2008, where she teaches English Composition and Creative Writing.
Beach said she would tell students who are struggling to find out what they want to do in life to slow down and look at what excites you.
Once you figure that out, look out into the world and find out how you can apply this in way that someone will pay you, Beach said.