“She was definitely the best professor that I’ve ever had. She has a passion for the subject and it shows through her teaching.”
–Anonymous literature student
“I like that it’s not your typical college course. She actually knows everyone’s name and you can tell that she truly cares. She makes the class entertaining.”
–Anonymous composition student
“She was very enthusiastic and you can tell she really enjoys what she teaches, which is contagious.”
–Anonymous research writing student
- Sample composition syllabus
- Sample literature syllabus and schedule
- Sample essay assignment prompt
- Teaching Philosophy
- Conference Presentation
As a teacher, I hope to foster a community of learners and prepare students to function effectively in this age of information. I believe that each student has their own individual needs and learning styles and, as an instructor, I strive to facilitate those needs through flexible lesson plans.
I believe in an active student-centered learning environment. In my experience, this style of teaching empowers and inspires the students to take part in their education. Students’ voices are not silenced my in classroom.
The use of technology is strongly encouraged in my classroom. At the end of the semester, each student leaves my class with a digital portfolio hosted on Google Sites. This site features the four main essays written in my class, “This I Believe,” compare and contrast, rhetorical analysis, and a reflection of their writing throughout the semester as well as a slew of journal entries demonstrating their knowledge about chosen topics.
As a composition instructor, I believe it is important to appeal to the many different types of students present in a freshman classroom. I recognize that not every student is destined to be an English major. Therefore, the readings included in my lesson plans and the examples I give in class are mainly focused on the popular culture of the 20-something generation. For example, for their third major essay, students are required to write a rhetorical analysis of a commercial of their choice. This assignment forces students to rhetorically deconstruct and determine how and why something is or is not influential, effective, or persuasive. Part of the reason advertising is so effective is that it makes use of rhetorical strategies and patterns that are not immediately apparent to the average citizen. Thus, to become a better citizen and a savvier consumer, it is important for students to be able to pick out some of these strategies and understand why they are effective. By relating to students on this level it gets them excited about researching assignments for my class.
As a student, I learned much better from visual representations of the lesson rather than solely auditory components, such as lectures. It is because of this that I do not lecture for long periods of time with out some sort of visual aid. To build upon the idea of relating my class to popular culture, I incorporate current events and YouTube videos to get my students interested about the topic of the lecture. Visual aids aren’t much use if they’re boring. That’s why I advocate for the use of Prezi technology over PowerPoint. Prezi is a presentation tool that is more visually interesting for the viewers and it easily embeds text, videos, and images. It is also readily available online so the student do not have to wait for me to upload my notes to Blackboard; they can always view the day’s Prezi on the company’s website.
Writing as a recursive process, an idea presented by Linda Flower and John Hayes, is emphasized in my classroom. The revision process is an important writing step that is often overlooked. After my students have read and considered the formative comments on their essays, I allow my students to resubmit their revised essays for the chance to earn a higher grade.
To facilitate a community of learners, students are required to participate in peer review sessions for their essays. For each essay, groups of three students read each other’s papers for grammar, style, and content suggestions. They are encouraged to explain the strengths and weakness of their peer’s paper both verbally and written to appeal to students with different learning styles.
I agree with Erika Lindemann assessment that formative feedback on essays is the most effective way for students to learn. She defines formative feedback as “the kind that support[s] learning, praise[s] what has worked well, demonstrate[s] how or why something else didn’t, and encourage[s] students to try new strategies” (Lindemann, 233). Students cannot improve their writing if they are not given suggestions or feedback on how to do so. Be warned, I am not an advocate of re-writing students’ papers for them. Instead, I pose questions and give suggestions in the margin about how they might fix problems in their essay such as organization, grammar, and content. This also invokes a higher-level of thinking from the students and teaches them how to identify and fix their own mistakes.
As a student, I often did not feel challenged and that left me always wanting more out of my educational experience and more out of my teachers. Thus, I aim to challenge myself as an educator to give my students an atmosphere in which they can thrive and exceed their goals.
To me, the greatest reward of teaching is being able to inspire individual students and teach them how writing and the community can effectively impact many facets of their life. I hope to be a stepping-stone to their future.
Flower, Linda, and John R. Hayes. “A Cognitive Process Theory of Writing.” College Composition and Communication 32.4 (1981): 365-87. Web. <http://www.jstor.org/stable/356600>.
Lindemann, Erika. A Rhetoric for Writing Teachers. New York: Oxford UP, 2001. Print.