Before becoming a professor in the Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages program at Cal State Fullerton, Daniel Rueckert, Ph.D. taught English to Latin-born players from minor league baseball teams who were pursuing a professional athletic career.
“I learned a lot about tailoring what I was teaching to their needs because their needs are very different than if I’m training people to come to a university. They don’t need to write essays, they need to interview and be able to read contracts,” Rueckert said.
The new tenure-track professor is currently in his third year with the school. Rueckert was one of over 100 applicants who was considered in the national search to fill the position.
Prior to coming to CSUF, Rueckert was a professor at Oklahoma City University for seven years where he taught English to AAA-affiliated minor league baseball players. He has also traveled many places around the world from China to Uruguay and throughout the United States.
One major influence on his life was the missionary work he did in Uruguay. As his first true taste of Latin culture, Rueckert said he remembers his time in South America fondly and that it helped him learn Spanish.
“Going out there for two years and just talking to people and interacting helped me to kind of develop the rest of the language, and that kind of goes into some of my philosophies and ideas of how we learn language too with that mix of practical experience,” Rueckert said.
He is unlike most tenure-track professors when considering his age and experience, said Juan Carlos Gallego, P.h.D., and fellow teaching English program professor. Gallego said this is why he feels that Rueckert may have had an advantage when it came to the national search results.
“He was already trained, which is not usually the case when you get someone new out of college and out of school with lots of ideas, but limited experience,” Gallego said. “He is very composed, thoughtful, gives his students time and asks questions.”
A father of two boys, Rueckert said his experience as a parent allows him to witness the process of learning to read and write, and has reaffirmed his love for teaching.
“When you see students learning, getting the employment to build for their families, enjoying their lives, that’s the reward of it all,” Rueckert. “That’s the part that’s most enjoyable about this job.”