I approach teaching as I would approach anything else in life: Always Be Teachable!
Life has many lessons for everyone, continually, if only we are open to see and recognize the growth possible within these opportunities. When I teach, I strive to instill this guiding principle that has directed many of my own paths in life. I like to begin each class period with an inspiring quote that usually relates to the lesson of the day. With the class being a first-year composition course, allowing space for students to become comfortable with the idea of writing is key. To facilitate with building this comfort level, I start the class period with a free write exercise, guided by a prompt related to the day’s lesson that we then briefly share and discuss before diving into the lesson.
When students proclaim, “I’m no good at writing,” I try to help them see the value that learning this skill can have for most every career path. My short (thus far) experience teaching first-year composition has resulted in multiple evaluations and reevaluations of how to teach an area where a student is struggling. Throughout this first semester teaching, I’ve asked my students to evaluate where they were in the learning process, looking for avenues where changes could be made to improve how I approach various topics; I then incorporated suggestions they've made. Knowing that each semester can come with equally different challenges, I intend to be aware of how my students receive instruction and adapt as needed.
I believe in teaching with the help of multi-modality, attempting to provide instruction in the many ways that people learn. This includes visual elements, video content, interactive activities, as well as reading and open discussion. Allowing students to write down thoughts prior to having them speak up has helped tremendously and works around students’ feelings of being put-on-the-spot with an urgency to answer a question. Interactive elements, such as incorporating lively Kahoot! games have helped improve their attention and focus.
My philosophy for life has always been to never stop learning. No matter how much a person knows about any given topic, there’s always more to learn. This mindset directed many avenues of my life and should be no different when it comes to teaching. But not just in how I teach, but how I view my students. They are capable young adults and I want to teach in a way that welcomes, encourages, and invites a cycle of continual learning.