Campus Life

People of RACC: The Quiet Pedagogue

by Edward Boice

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Photo by Katelyn Bennett

In the classroom, Professor David Leight brings a quiet rigor to writing instruction.

If you had to envision Professor Leight at home: a certain sophisticated image might come to mind. Perhaps you picture him sitting beside a fireplace, reading a book, with a warm mug of cocoa on his side table.

Leight brings that kind of quiet erudition to his classrooms, something he’s been doing for 18 years as a teacher at RACC. Leight acknowledges that he has been working at RACC so long that “many of the people working now used to be my students.” Some of those former students include Kim Uphold and Jodi Corbett.

Leight earned a master’s degree in English at Lehigh Valley University and then a master’s in Rhetoric from Temple University. Prior to teaching at RACC, Leight taught at Palisades School District in Bucks County as well as Lehigh Carbon Community College. He was also an adjunct faculty member at Lehigh University, Lafayette College and Bucks County Community College.
Leight says his mission is to help students learn to communicate and to appreciate and understand literature. He hopes to help students strive toward greater lives. “That is why I’m here,” he says.

Why did you decide to become a teacher?

My aunt, uncle, parents, and grandmother are all teachers, so I have always leaned toward teaching. I never really understood what engineers or businessmen do. I liked English and writing the most, so when I went to college, I knew to explore in that direction.

What classes are you teaching now?

I am currently teaching English Composition I and II, American Literature II, and Technical Writing, both online and in-class. There have been other types of classes I’ve taught in the past. Also, I am the College Level Writing Coordinator, so I help evaluate the adjunct teachers and develop writing courses.

Apparently, you have done a number of research studies. Can you tell me about these studies?

Professor John Lawlor and I have done a lot of studies together. Because we taught linked history and literature classes, we decided to do linked presentations together. One of them was about Zora Neale Hurston and Richard Wright. We just did one on Mark Twain and Buffalo Bill.

Why do you make these presentations?

Some of it is interesting to share: to explore a topic, and then to try to figure out what was going on that sparked why and how they wrote at that time. It satisfies my interest to share with people by going to small conferences.

Do you ever sit in front of a fireplace reading a book?

Not so much that, but I do like to read at night in my bed.

What do you read then?

Usually, I try to read things that I think I should have read, or at least part of, in the past. I also try to read other books from authors I am teaching with or about to get to know them better as writers and to teach about them better, especially in American Literature II.

What is your biggest pet-peeve in writing?

People who do not try. When they just slap it together and do not put time and effort into it.

Any last words to the readership?

RACC students have gone on to do great things, get advanced degrees, doctorates, and masters, so do not sell yourself short.

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