STEPHENVILLE (May 14, 2018)– Most students take English 1301 or 1302 their first or second semester of college, and Tarleton State University senior instructor Molly Thornton will be one of their first professors. Thornton, Tarleton alumni, once took these classes at Tarleton herself as a student.
“I am originally from Stephenville,” Thornton said. “My parents had gone [to Tarleton], my grandfather had gone here, my aunt had gone here. So, it was a bit of a tradition. It ended up being a great choice for me.”
Thornton earned her bachelor’s and masters of arts in English at Tarleton State University. While she always enjoyed reading and stories, Thornton was originally an education major.
“I realized that was not quite my thing,” Thornton said. “From one class I remember one teacher making a comment on an essay – Well done – and I got an A. For some reason, that just clicked.”
After college, Thornton worked for five years in public school. She and her family moved back to Stephenville when her husband, Randy Thornton, took a job coaching at Santo ISD.
“That year I taught at the high school here in Stephenville,” Thornton said. “I taught a night class at Tarleton.”
During that school year, Thornton became pregnant with their second child, Holland.
“After that year I resigned from the high school and just taught a couple of classes here for a few years because I wanted to be Mom,” Thornton said. “A lot of people don’t see adjuncting in a favorable light, but for me, being a mom and having to small kids, that is what I wanted. So it was a really great combination of having part of a professional life but also having plenty of Mom time.”
When Holland was about to begin kindergarten, a full time instructor position in the Tarleton English department came open. Thornton accepted the position in the fall of 2013. Thornton then became pregnant with Harper but, after “a lot of prayer and thought,” decided to remain in her position.
“A lot of my decisions are based on what is good for my kids instead of what is just best for my career although that has worked well for me,” Thornton said.
Now Thornton teachers a combination of English 1301 and 1302, short story and introduction to literature depending upon the semester.
“I think for the most part it’s getting to know the students on a personal level is my favorite part,” Thornton said. “I don’t get to know all of them. The ones I do get to know I really enjoy.”
Thornton said the biggest change to Tarleton since she attended is that difference in the student population. More students come from a variety of different places instead of from surrounding communities and rural areas. But, Thornton still loves Tarleton.
“[Tarleton] feels like home to me. It’s a friendly environment,” Thornton said. “I think it is a warm, inviting and friendly campus.”