The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

A passionate history

History profesor Sherri Patton realized she wanted to be an instruction when she first walked into a classroom as a teacher’s aid in 1990.

IN 1963, SHERRI PATTON says when she was a child in North Carolina, she and a few childhood friends were given a key to unlock a gate at the center of a giant fenced wall.  They lost the key after it was given to them.

On the other side of the wall were more friends to play with.  The gate that separated the friends was placed there to segregate the white and black communities. Unable to open the gate, she and her friends uprooted the fence to get to the other side, to their friends of different colors.

Growing up in the segregated South during the 1960s, Patton, 53, is still breaking down fences as an activist for social justice.

Patton is a history professor at City College. She teaches History 310 and 311 with an emphasis on women and gender roles. These classes involve American history before and after the civil war respectively. Patton also teaches an African History class.

“I like teaching both of them; it gives a nice mix of two different worlds,” says Patton.

Although she has been teaching at City College for 12 years, Patton didn’t always know she wanted to be a history professor. She says she dropped out of school on two different occasions, once from the University of North Carolina and once from San Francisco State University. The third time around Patton enrolled in an exciting cultural studies history class and decided to get her Ph.D in the subject after some advice from her professor.

“She had asked me if I ever considered getting a Ph.D in the subject.  The work was the hardest thing I’ve ever experienced in my life, but I’m glad she brought it up to me,” says Patton.

Patton realized she wanted to be an instructor when she  first walked into a classroom as a teacher’s aide in 1990. She loved the environment.

Patton says she especially loves teaching at City College. She has regular classroom discussions with her students.
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“ This school has a different type of diversity,” Patton says. “Demographics are different at other California schools. Here you can have such wonderful classroom discussions with the diverse environment.”

Students in Patton’s class like the way she runs her classroom.

“I chose this class because I had her before. I like how she engages the whole class to talk, and she does it without being forceful,” says Chelsea Kennedy.

“I like how she works with you when you’re struggling,” says Ashley Shell.

Diversity is an important part of the social activist role that Patton likes to play in today’s society. She and her family moved around a lot when she was a child. Her father was a pastor on the side of Civil Rights, attending rallies and preaching about equality.

“I think it’s important to be idealistic,” Patton says. “I’m an advocate of social justice. I like a sense of fairness and equality.”

Patton appreciates her students and has a passion for teaching them. She wants her students to get something out of her history class that’s profound.

“I want students to be able to think critically about history and apply it to the events of today,” says Patton. “It’s good to remember the little things.”

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