Government instructor looking for new career path in law school

by NICOLE TRUGILLO/Editor-in-Chief 

It’s never too late to choose a different career path.

Zachary Carlton, instructor in Government, has decided recently to take his career path in a new direction.

Carlton has decided to attend New England School of Law in Boston to become a lawyer. He will be finishing out the current semester and will leave for Boston in early July.

“It’s something that has been nagging at me for years now,” says Carlton. “My step-father would come in and run into my department chair at social events and say, ‘Now, why isn’t Zach going to law school?’ Which is a great thing to say to my boss. Well, I eventually thought, “Why haven’t I gone to law school?’”

Prior to working at SPC, Carlton attended Texas State to receive his degree in public administration. He later worked for a few years and went on to Midwestern State University where he earned his master’s degree in political science. Carlton then started his teaching career at SPC in the fall of 2012.

According to Carlton, he was looking through different human resources page when he stumbled across a teaching job.

“[The college] interviewed me, and they were nice enough to take a chance on an inexperienced, young person,” says Carlton. “I’m glad they did. I’ve enjoyed my time here.”

Although Carlton has enjoyed teaching his students, he says that he never wanted to be a teacher. Carlton grew up in a family of educators, and the last thing he wanted to do was teach.

“My grandfather was a professor and a university president,” explains Carlton. “My mother was a teacher, and my grandmother was a music teacher. My brother was a teacher as well. One of the jobs I had in between getting my bachelor’s and master’s was a juvenile detention center guard. It was not a fun job.”

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Professor Carlton in his office in the Administration Building on April 26. CHESANIE BRANTLEY/PLAINSMAN PRESS

According to Carlton, the person that the detention center hired was a terrible teacher. So, instead of being a guard, he ended up doing more teaching than the teacher ever did.

“That’s when I discovered that I enjoyed helping students learn difficult material,” says Carlton. “When I was doing my master’s degree, I had to teach two classes with all of 15 minutes of training, and then they sent me out to teach two, 80-person classes. So, I definitely learned from being thrown into the deep end.”

Carlton grew up in a house involving politics. So, it was a natural fit for him to get a degree in political science and then teach the subject that he was most passionate about.

“My step-father ran for his first position in local government in the late ‘80s,” explains Carlton. “From then on, I was involved with him helping put up yard signs, giving out bumper stickers at the Wichita Falls pancake feed, and I’ve always really enjoyed it.”

Carlton adds that his family is really politically active and knowledgeable.

“We all have a very bad habit of sitting around in the same room and reading different newspapers to one another,” explains Carlton. “This is what we do for fun.”

According to Carlton, he enjoys government and everything that pertains to it.

“But if I have the opportunity to get an in-depth knowledge and to really specialize in the law sounds like a fantastic opportunity,” explains Carlton. “If I could one day work for a politican to help them craft legislation or to put the bad guys in jail…it sounds like too good of an opportunity to pass up.”

Carlton says he’s going to miss the students and his co-workers at SPC. Not only has he had a chance to connect with the people he worked, he also has connected with his students.

“Maybe one day I’ll come back to teaching,” explains Carlton. “Somebody doesn’t become a teacher because they want to be a millionaire. We become teachers to help students and make those connections. I think that is something I’m going to miss about teaching, because that’s what makes teaching worthwhile.”

“Maybe not so much the dust storms,” Carlton adds with a laugh. “But, of course, I’m going to Boston, and I’m going to be replacing dust storms with snow.”

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