I believe that teaching in higher education requires a specific skill set and a demeanor that respects and cares for the whole student, encourages empowerment, and requires self-reflection. The interactions I have with students should provide them an opportunity to learn both deeply and intimately in the goal of a well-rounded liberal arts education.
When entering my classroom, I expect active consumers, not passive observers, in order for learning to happen. The thirst for knowledge paired with the pursuit of understanding our responsibility of our place on the planet is paramount to forging new connections between course content and their individual experiences. Without establishing practical, living connections between material knowledge and content with student experience, I cannot expect to equip students with the necessary tools for success in the twenty-first century. I employ a wide variety of technology and alternative methodologies to actively engage students with the course material and the world they live in every day.
I see teaching as fabricating an environment where students learn to think critically, react to material, and encounter book knowledge, in practice and in theory, with presence and resistance. I like to encourage the spirit of discovery and believe teaching allows me to follow questions and guide students into thinking about material and putting that thought into action with what they already know to be true.
I reject the notion that it is my job simply to fill students with information. They are not blank slates or empty vessels that merely seek information. It is my job to challenge the combing of new knowledge with their prior assumptions, aiding them to look both practically and theoretically at their involvement with their education.
With vigor and consistency, it is my job to teach students to examine their own critical eye and insist that they stretch themselves as both scholars and practitioners. I provide for students, cultivating and fostering an environment where risk taking is encouraged and supported; students should leave the classroom equipped with an authentic voice and tools with which to use it. Furthermore, I teach by demonstration. By continually authenticating skills, I encourage students to attack the reality of the world instead of engaging them in pretentious role-plays and facsimile representations of life. As a learner, I believe that the classroom should be a meeting ground for understanding, acquisition, and working. Through shared experience grounded in truth, theory, practical knowledge, I believe teaching is creating a shared space for authenticating practical skills and growth.
I conduct teacher research in order to adequately structure challenging assignments and an environment conducive to content literacy. I like gadgets in the general education classroom and incorporating Web 2.0 technology into my large-format lectures. I aim to continually discover ways to best deliver content and encounter the acquisition of knowledge with humor and entertainment. Through participating in theatre arts courses, students should be encouraged to explore a variety of avenues into the artistic and creative processes encountered in storytelling. Presence is the key to engagement.