Average workers today stay at their jobs for 4.4 years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That’s barely longer than it takes to get a bachelor’s degree, and less time than it takes plenty of students.
Patty Ley, the program chair of Medical Assisting at Ivy Tech Community College Northeast, has been at the College since 1993. To put that in perspective, there are students here who were not yet conceived when she started. (Sorry to point that out, Patty, but as a thirtysomething woman who’s seen her peers start-and-quit new jobs faster than it takes a bad haircut to grow out, that’s a detail that has to be celebrated.)
Patty started at the College as an adjunct faculty member in Medical Assisting–she was also working in the microbiology department’s lab at Lutheran Hospital–and she remembers her first day of teaching: Her first class was in Hurley Hall, which once stood where the Technology Center is now.
And boy, was she nervous.
“I had never taught before,” Patty says. “But once you got into the swing of things, it was quite a bit of fun and a very gratifying experience in terms of seeing students grow from the first week of the semester to the last week of the semester.”
And that’s part of what has made her stick around for so long.
“They (students) become part of your family, a little bit like raising children,” Patty says, pointing out the satisfaction she feels on graduation day, seeing her students get their diplomas and the pride they feel.
She also gets personal satisfaction from her artistic projects. Patty enjoys photography, especially outdoor photography, and stained glass. She has a small studio in her basement where she makes her windows. She and her husband recently moved into a home in Lakeside Park, and earlier this season, she worked on stained glass windows to replace the regular glass windows in her basement.
Making stained glass windows has been a hobby for 15 years, and Patty even has a piece in a church in an impoverished village in Mexico. Her brother-in-law had a connection with the church through missionary work, and she was asked to make a piece for it.
“I have never seen it in the church itself, but they transported it down there,” she says. “Someday, I would like to see the church. It would be a great trip to go there.”