teaching philosophy

At the center of my teaching ethos is compassion, kindness, and justice.

I strive to create learning environments where students challenge themselves to be their best, and not to work with a particular grade in mind.

I believe that student-led teaching is most effective. I ask my students to form our course material around their own interests, and from there I guide them on how those interests can help them reach their academic and career-related goals, all while becoming better citizens of the world. I do this by creating class projects that focus on having students apply course material to projects that they wish to undertake in the future, or are already in the process of executing. For me, the metrics of success are not necessarily tallied by tests and essays, but instead in how well students are able to implement what they've learned in the classroom into their lives.

For example, in the past I have had education students design course syllabi and learning material to teach their own classes one day, media studies students create podcasts, creative writing students write short stories, and students in STEM fields design research projects that incorporate issues of social justice and equity into the sciences. Giving students the space to think of the material I assign not as inert within the bounds of the course, but as something that is applicable to their daily lives, has been an incredibly effective way of teaching.

My main inspiration as an educator is drawn from the work of Paulo Friere, M. Jacqui Alexander, bell hooks, and Becky Thompson. All of these theorists have centered teaching not as a material object that instructors give to students, but rather an exchange where everyone in the classroom has an experience to share or a lesson to teach. For this reason, I always emphasize discussion in my class because I am certain that students are just as capable of teaching one another as I am.

I have also quilted together lessons from my favorite teachers throughout my educational career. I have been lucky to have learned from some brilliant educators and I carry on many lessons on how to lecture and facilitate discussion. Thinking about how to be a good educator from the perspective of a student has been an important practice in mindfulness, staying grounded, and recognizing what is truly important within a classroom.