Statement of Teaching Philosophy and Experience
My goal as a teacher is to provide all students with high-quality interactive learning opportunities in which they will gain knowledge, challenge their thinking, apply their newfound understanding, and grow as learners and scholars as individuals and as part of a greater community. I intend to support my students in their critiquing of inequitable educational practices and the acknowledgement of their roles of power and privilege, and will in turn acknowledge and question my role of power and privilege as their teacher. I believe that the role of a teacher is reflective and I aim to constantly and diligently work to increase my effectiveness and develop my teaching skills. In the physical classroom and online learning environments, and through advising and mentoring opportunities, I will set high expectations, not just for my students, but for myself as well.
My Teaching Background
I have nine total years of teaching experience, ranging from pre-kindergarten to university and including face-to-face and online delivery modes. At the university level, I have worked as an instructor of record and teaching assistant with undergraduate pre-service teaching students for a dual language early childhood education program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and an early childhood special education program at Arizona State University, respectively. Most recently at Arizona State University, I co-taught two online masters courses in the theory, research, and design of effective computer-mediated communication and worked as a teaching intern for an introductory qualitative research methods course for masters and doctoral students. Throughout these teaching experiences, I created or assisted in creating the course syllabi, designed activities, graded assignments, and held one-on-one conferences and office hours with students.
In addition, I have been a classroom teacher at the early childhood (i.e. children ages birth through age-four), kindergarten, and middle school levels in Virginia, Wisconsin, and Arizona. I also have experience as an English as a Second Language teacher and a professional educational consultant and mentor for a team of kindergarten teachers. These experiences heavily influence how I approach teaching at the university level. As I have taught and worked with students in urban, rural, low-, and high-income communities, I have experienced and confronted the inequitable educational practices that are occurring throughout the United States. While I honor and respect the variety of experiences and background knowledge that my students will bring to the university classroom and online learning environment, I also intend to create an inclusive community amongst my students where they will feel comfortable sharing and thinking critically about their own previous educational experiences.
My Role as a University Teacher
As an effective teacher, my role is to facilitate learning. I value helping students improve their skills, question their thinking, gain new abilities, acquire new information, and apply their knowledge to real-world situations. I strive not only to increase students’ knowledge of content areas, but to also support them in constantly questioning inequitable educational practices and thinking about how their actions as educators and leaders have the potential of making a larger impact beyond their classrooms, schools, and communities. Through class conversations, writing exercises, and online discussion boards, I encourage my students to think critically, address various questions, and synthesize information from a variety of sources.
In a university environment, I believe that all students should feel comfortable and welcome to share their ideas, experiences, and understanding of the material presented, as influenced by their background knowledge. As a university professor, I aim to create an inclusive classroom or online learning environment where all students feel appreciated, much like I did during my previous teaching experiences. I facilitate this environment by encouraging conversations, allowing students to speak honestly, and supporting them as they encounter, challenge, and work through difficult concepts. I also am vigilantly aware of the individual needs of my students and have provided alternative learning opportunities as needed or requested.
I believe that organization is crucial when being a successful teacher. Students at all levels of education need limits and structure, and I accomplish this by being organized and having clear and concise syllabi which include observable objectives, required materials, and assignments. I maintain organization by structuring each lecture and class exercise, and beginning each face-to-face class session by detailing the plan for that session and describing how the topic we will be discussing fits within the course’s overall goals.
Being an effective teacher also means that the instructor works to fully engage students during each class session, whether it is in a face-to-face or online environment. I help students reach my high expectations of their learning potential by encouraging them to actively participate, verbally ask questions, provide input and feedback to me as their teacher, and take ownership in their learning. In face-to-face courses, I give students opportunities for providing and receiving feedback, which include in-class verbal discussions; and exit slips where students can write one thing they clearly understood, questions that they did not ask in class, or give suggestions for topics they would like to discuss during future class sessions. I also provide online discussion boards, such as through Blackboard or Canvas, where students can ask questions of their classmates and of me in order to better understand the topics that have been discussed in class or assignments through which they are working.
Finally, I am an enthusiastic and reflective teacher. I am passionate about my classes, students, and the topics of which I am teaching, and am always willing to further develop my understanding of content and teaching skills. Through my previous teaching experiences, I have found that students pay closer attention, ask more questions, and engage with the topics being discussed in class if I also am engaged and excited. I am eager to work with my faculty colleagues to learn and try new teaching techniques per their recommendations for engaging my students, and receive constructive feedback for improving my teaching.