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Lifelong Learning: The Key to Happiness

By Antonica Hernandez
History Instructor John Frasure (right)

History classes are stereotyped to be boring and sometimes the teacher is as well; unless of course, you enroll in a history class with John Frasure at Estrella Mountain Community College (EMCC).

Passionate about history, Frasure’s excitement about obtaining knowledge is contagious.

While most are still unsure of the career they want to pursue even as adults, Frasure claims he has known that he wanted to be a teacher ever since he can remember. Even as a young child in elementary school in Garrett, Kentucky, it interested him to learn about past history.

He found it even more fascinating that history is a topic that you can always learn more about. Frasure views it as something that is constantly changing, and believes history that is in the making is merely something to learn from, so that the same mistakes are not continuously repeated.

After high school, Frasure went on to study at Eastern Michigan University and later attended Texas Wesleyan University, and the University of Phoenix. He received his master’s degree and is planning on furthering his education even more in the near future.

Frasure began his career as a history instructor in 1973 and is going on his 40th year of teaching. He has been educating students at EMCC for the past 19 years, 14 in which he has worked full time and five part time. Regardless of his status, the amount of effort put into his students and their learning is never anything less than above and beyond.

Frasure’s teaching methods differ tremendously from those of other instructors - he doesn’t even use a textbook for the courses he offers. He apparently never used one textbook all throughout his four years at a university; he considers the truth to be found elsewhere.

Everything that is taught in his classes is information that he has obtained through extensive research throughout the years. According to him, he has been researching history since before he entered college. He constantly learns something new every day, whether it be from books (he has about 3,000 in his collection), DVDS/documentaries, and even from students and colleagues who teach him things he didn’t know.

“It’s always great to have someone come up and hand you a book, or come across a new documentary out of nowhere. It really makes me think, wow, I guess I’m supposed to be doing this after all.”

Aside from not using textbooks for his students, he is a fan of collaborative work; he says he’s observed that students seem to comprehend information much better that way throughout his years as an instructor.

EMCC student Michael Quiros said, “He’s really good at connecting the past to the present; it’s mind blowing. I think I’ve learned more taking this class than I have in any other history class.”

John Frasure’s ultimate goal as an educator is to have his students walk away from his courses with more than just knowledge of history. He wants them to have an appreciation of it and to also apply all that they have learned not only in the classroom, but in life as well.

“I want them to take knowledge, life lessons, and also a love for history and to know the benefit of it. I want them to be better citizens and make wise decisions- whatever that may be- voting, getting an education, whatever. Lifelong learning- that’s the key to happiness.”