An English teacher at the college for 29 years, Metscher has seen her share of different types of students and has learned a lot about them.
“I’ve taught traditional, nontraditional and international students. I’ve liked aspects of each,” Metscher said. “I like being in the classroom and knowing other educators.”
Metscher and her husband, Jim, moved to Columbia from Okmulgee, Okla., in 1975 after she received her master’s degree in English from the University of Oklahoma. She began teaching at Columbia College in 1976, where the adult evening program was introduced a year before.
“I was one of the first and only women to teach this program,” Metscher said. “I was intimidated because most of my students were men my age or older — Vietnam vets using their G.I. Bill.”
Eventually, she began teaching a course about women in literature, and most of the students were older women who were fired up about returning to school, she said. In 1983, a group of these women decided to establish a scholarship to help women like themselves — and they named it after their instructor, Lizbeth Brydges Metscher. It is given annually to a female student 30 or older with at least a 3.0 grade point average.
“They wanted other people to have the same experience they were enjoying,” Metscher said. “As their instructor, I was most honored that they named the scholarship after me.”
In 1991, Metscher got involved teaching English as a second or other language — it has an acronym, ESOL. By 1996, she was coordinator of ESOL and had discovered that she enjoyed teaching international students.
“Sometimes international students have an openness that other students don’t have for different reasons,” Metscher said. “It is not a lack of sophistication; it’s a difference in sophistication.”
Metscher enjoys watching her students interact and hearing about their experiences, she said.
“My favorite part is being with the students, being with people,” Metscher said. “They are usually interesting, fun and interested people if they are involved with school.”
— Elizabeth Jurczyk