Every person who walks into a classroom deserves a valuable experience that not only educates but inspires them. Classes should be engaging, insightful and carefully prepared. Learning environments should be conducive to success through the accurate and productive dissemination of information and resources.
Nevertheless, even the best teachers- the most knowledgeable educators and the most sought-after scholars- will likely struggle to get all of these elements right, in every course. It’s unrealistic to expect that we will always succeed, but we can’t afford not to try.
In my role as a professor, I endeavor to keep these ideals at the forefront of the classroom, both literally and figuratively. My experience as an educator has shown me that the relationship between a student and a teacher requires an agreed upon set of principles and goals to ensure success for all parties. These ideals provide the basis for a social contract in my classroom.
My students experience the classroom in a variety of ways to ensure that each person can learn according to their needs. This includes readings from variety of sources/authors/viewpoints as well as engaged, community-driven learning and assignments that vary in form and function. I present a syllabus that includes student contributions, both from scholarly sources and their own lived experiences. Students are encouraged to engage with the course materials in ways that match their natural tendencies, including in-class discussions and activities outside of the classroom.
My goal as an educator is not to train students to share my worldview. Rather, it is to provide students with the tools to discern knowledge in a variety of contexts. To teach them to ask critical questions and consider the intersections between a number of views and experiences.
I work hard to create a positive, inclusive, and inquisitive classroom environment. This is not possible when students lack basic needs, cannot communicate their ideas, and do not have access to experiences that are culturally rich and inviting. In that vein, my classroom, office, and learning environments include information on goods, services, and experiences that students can access and the pathways to these resources.