Instructor gives students help to ‘find their way’

Written by | Maggie Tinoco |

Coming from a background where one parent is a Christian and the other is a pantheist influenced an instructor’s career path.

“When I was a freshman in college I met Dr. Gene Byrd, and he took an interest in me,” said Philosophy and Religion Instructor Jerry Klein.

“He knew I came from a mixed background religiously, and he suggested if I followed the right course of action, I could study philosophy and religion and become a teacher in college.”

Klein took the advice from Byrd, for whom Amarillo College’s Byrd Business Building is named, and has been teaching at AC since 1982.

It has been more than 34 years, and some past students still remember being taught by this man.

“There was an old guy, and he said, ‘How long have you been teaching?’ and I told him, and he said, ‘Hey, you might have taught me.’ And you know, back in the day, there weren’t many philosophy instructors,” Klein said.

Former students said Klein knows exactly what he is doing and can explain things quite well.

Undeclared major Haley Spray said, “I really enjoy his class. He is very in-depth and always open to other students’ views and opinions.”

Kenra Dunlap, a nursing major, said, “Professor Klein is a really good teacher. He explains the class very well. He is also very helpful and is always there when you need anything.”

Even though Dunlap did not plan to take Klein’s course, she said, “As I have been in the class for the past eight weeks, it’s actually very interesting as well as my favorite class.”

Klein knew teaching was the right career path for him. “I wouldn’t want to do anything else in life,” he said. “I am a teacher through and through.”

Klein finds that his students bring him fulfillment. “They challenge me, keep me young, which I am not, but I believe I still speak their language, and as long as I do, I will continue to teach,” he said.

He has a passion for teaching and defines the true meaning of being a teacher.

“Dr. Byrd helped me so much in finding my direction in life, and if I could just help some other people who need help finding their direction in life, then I feel like I have done something worthwhile,” he said.


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