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Statement of Teaching Philosophy
Sorry, no neat, tidy statement here, as this is a work in progress.
Considering taking a class with me? Here are some commitments that drive my pedagogy:
- I come to teaching as a feminist. This means I’m interested in dismantling hierarchies that position students as “less than” in the classroom. Students and I work together as colleagues to make meaning, and I depend on them to teach me how to engage them. One strategy I use toward this end is a modification of Chris Emdin’s cogen, in which a few students stay after each class to chat with me about what I need to know for the next class. It also means I work explicitly in the classroom to examine how authority is constructed and understood; for example, sometimes when I hear myself make an authoritative statement in the classroom, I’ll stop and ask students, “What did I just do in that statement to develop my ethos as an authority? How did it make you feel?”
- The “semester” is a social construct. The timeframe I give for completing assignments may not work for everyone, so I have built into my teaching a few ways for students to have flexibility with deadlines and how long it takes them to grasp concepts. For example, late tickets can be used to extend deadlines, and Revise & Resubmits give students multiple opportunities to demonstrate their understanding.
- Grading practices are impacted by implicit biases and “standards” are generally reflective of the values of the people with power, which in the U.S. means people who are typically white, male, able-bodied, cisgendered, and straight. I use labor-based grade contracts, portfolios, and class-generated scoring rubrics to mitigate these factors, and I invite students to negotiate other forms of evaluation that feel authentic and meaningful to them.
- My #1 job as your teacher is to teach YOU, not to grade you or compare you with your peers or to institutionalize your thinking (colleges and universities are institutions—we institutionalize). This means I will ask you regularly what you are learning and how so I can adjust my strategies to better meet you where you are. I will provide multiple opportunities for you to learn, and if the opportunities I provide aren’t working, I’ll invite you to help me invent new ones. I practice Universal Design for Learning (UDL), which means I aim to make my classroom, course content, and evaluation measures accessible to everyone.
- A classroom will never be equally “safe” for everyone because of implicit bias and uneven distribution of resources (time, money, etc.). I acknowledge this and aim for a brave(r) classroom.
All of my classes involve in-class writing to help us gather and organize our thoughts, small group discussion to provide brave(r) spaces for discussing ideas, large group discussion to share ideas with a larger audience and gather feedback, and collaborative problem solving to give us all an opportunity to apply and test what we think we know.
If you have questions about my teaching or whether one of my classes is the right one for you, please get in touch!