Teaching Philosophy

I was looked up to early on. It started when my sisters sprang about. By having a jump on their existence, I blazed an initial path through our shared domestic and scholarly terrain. Be it my success or missteps, my two younger sisters had the opportunity to learn from me. While cherishing my own independent spirit, part of me envied any insight they gained having a model. Sibling rivalry may have initiated my thirst for knowledge, but I have come to find imparting wisdom equally satiating.

        Teaching the ins and outs of the English language requires determination. Luckily, chasing our tales never seemed the least bit tiresome. English studies have enabled a more confident, passionate and thoughtful version of myself.  I teach because I am drawn to the primacy of language and power of stories. I teach because it gives me an incredible sense of purpose. I teach to positively influence. I teach to be happy on the job.

       I am indebted to the subject. I found my voice in English class. While reading Romeo and Juliet aloud in 9th grade, my teacher stopped me to insist I try out for the school play. Consequently, there wasn't a year that passed that I wasnt principally cast. The experience I gained performing strengthens my communicatory and analytic credibility. It also evidences how the interpretative tools taught in class can be applied in the real world. I anticipate digging up many fine voices by inciting students to be heard.

Atop the prospect of directing school plays, teaching English gives me the chance to coach speech. The competitive world of speech designs a unique program for the literary-minded student. With thirteen different types of speeches, the sizable extra-curricular builds team camaraderie usually restricted to sports. Having coached for years, witnessing the progress of students through the season is exhilarating. The relationship between the student and text morphs over time as they discover what deliveries and interpretations are more winning. The weekly tournament results supply a tangible urgency to be both creative and critically accurate.

    I am driven to cultivate strong relationships between a writer and his process, identity, community and creative power. My students will be given plenty of opportunities to invent, reinvent and revise. I intend to encourage their taking chances and combating formulaic or repetitious stratagems. I expect students to walk away from my classes with documented proof of their development as a writer, along with final products they can be proud of.

    The design of my writing curriculum focuses on enabling students to breathe easy and be confident about mechanics. It points at how special their own lives have been and how this can be translated on the page. They will work on seeing objectively and analyzing with unbiased eyes. They will figure out how to harness subjectivity and embrace their own stylistic peculiarities. They will work toward a rhetorical flexibility that allows them to shift perspectives and identify more significantly with classmates.

Prioritizing one genre over another will not occur in my classroom. Assuming writing a personal narrative draws upon a less significant skill set than that needed for an analytical paper does the student a disservice. Some students will deal with considerably more consternation expressing internal meaning than they would spinning off external meaning. My assignments will be adaptable to the specific needs of each course. I agree when Stephen Brookfield suggests, “it is sometimes important to teach against students preferred learning styles”. However, in my class, if a student is more interested in writing persuasive essays than narratives, his preference is taken seriously and reflected in his final grade. The unfavored assignments remain compulsory, but less imposing and loaded.

     Learning is about connection. In a structured setting, it spawns from mutual respect. Learning happens when the teacher and student are on the same page, in every sense. Enthusiasm works wonders to bond a student’s drive. Engaging how writing and reading affects the student and myself will establish an open and supportive atmosphere.

Using what' I've absorbed from literary and compositional theory will guide a structured implementation of the course material that balances the creative manner in which it is approached. Cultural context and contemporary resonance will be staples of my lessons.

    My goals teaching will likely shift with time and student, but when all is said and done, I hope to honestly declare, I inspire. I listen, react and interact. I trust. I invoke conversation. I study, define and question. I encourage free thought and creativity. I commend nuance. I'm approachable. I link to other topics and periods. I smile a lot. I scaffold knowledge. I am organized and innovative. I'm patient and devoted. I am fair and clear. I find common ground. I'm there for anyone. I am genuine.

     The goals for my future students will be to pay attention, keep up, show progress, admit divergent perspectives, spot personal significance, weigh in, and to heighten their ability to think, speak, read and write about whatever they love down the line.