Striving and Thriving
Amanda Hayman has seen firsthand what it means to be a lifelong learner, both in her personal life and throughout her career. As the Operations and Program Manager in the Continuing Education Department at the Technical College of the Lowcountry (TCL) in Beaufort, Amanda deals daily with individuals eager to pursue learning, whether just for fun or as a career choice. For this reason, the Continuing Education department offers a wide variety of classes anywhere from introduction to sewing to becoming a certified veterinarian assistant.
As Program Director, Amanda is in charge of setting up a schedule for all the different classes and gathering community feedback to see what classes area residents are interested in pursuing. "Our motto is to try anything once. In the past, people have come up with some unique classes! There is even an instant piano class that guarantees the students will learn to play piano in one night of class," Amanda said. "If there are students who want to learn, and a teacher who wants to teach, we can create almost any class we want."
In the seven years Amanda has been with TCL, she has done some learning of her own and not necessarily in the classroom. She began as a part-time administrative assistant while she worked on her Master's Degree in Information Technology. This track eventually led her to her full-time position as Program Manager. Plus, she has been a TCL teacher for nearly four years, all while being a single mother.
Amanda's daughter, Hannah, is now seven years old and the light of her mother's life, but it has been a long road. "Seven years ago my ex-husband left and I lost a really great job all at the same time. Things started to crumble and I felt helpless, but when I look back, it was a truly life-changing experience. I got involved with some wonderful ladies from church and joined MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) to help with Hannah. I started playing volleyball to get fit and get rid of stress, and also began selling Mary Kay to help build up my personal confidence. In a way, I feel like I am a survivor..."
Teaching Introduction to Computers, Amanda's ultimate goal is to teach full time. "I love my job, but the most rewarding part for me is to be able to reach out to students, young and old, and see the light go off in their heads when they start to understand something," Amanda said. "I've learned that all you have to do is take the time to invest in someone. We are all overworked and underpaid, but when I just stop and devote my energy into finding out what students need, I can begin to understand where they are coming from and how I can successfully teach them."
Amanda has seen students from all walks to life, from military personnel to teenage high schoolers to people in their 80s, wanting to learn all they can. "I am always impressed by the older students who constantly come back to learn more. I've learned that you can be completely grown and still learning what you want to be when you 'grow up'," Amanda said. "To me, lifelong learning is continued learning in everything we do, not just education, but in life's lessons. I learn daily from my seven-year-old and my own job. I am always planning for the future, but living for the moment."
Grew up in: Charlotte, N.C. Moved to Beaufort in fifth grade
Family: Daughter, Hannah, and two beagle-mixes, Sam and Liz
Hobbies: Photography, kayaking, going to the beach, and selling Mary Kay
Future goals: Surviving my daughter's energetic sevens and continuing to strive towards career goals of becoming a full-time teacher