Teaching is not a transaction where I deliver content to a student who receives it. To me, teaching is about guiding students through the learning process where they make meaning of the content for themselves, we making meaning together and we create new ideas. I see my role through this process as a guide and coach, where I employ cooperative, active and inquiry-based learning techniques that [hopefully] result in greater learning, increased satisfaction and increased persistence (Astin, 1993; Hotchkiss, Moore, & Pitts, 2006, June; Laufgaben, 2005; Tinto, 1998).

Innovative by nature, I use technology to create a dynamic learning experience for students, humanize the online learning experience, and help students build their digital literacy and identity. My approach often requires the student to step outside of his or her comfort zone, self-reflect, think critically and [hopefully] ultimately become a better version of themselves. I am committed to developing and preparing students to be educational leaders in our multicultural world. To do this, I infuse multicultural and international perspectives into all of my courses; this Fall, I am connecting my group communication courses with Japanese students so they can learn about group communication in Japanese culture from students experiencing it. I am also committed to preparing educational leaders to become civically engaged in our society; one way I am carrying out this value in my teaching is through connecting my liberal studies capstone course to a local high school and elementary school where my students will create a learning module about leadership for K-12 students while mentoring them about college.

Fundamentally, I teach because I want to prepare future educational leaders to create innovative solutions by integrating various disciplines of thought to affect systemic change in the educational pipeline. I teach because I believe that college students need to understand the important role they can play in teaching their children (before they even get to school), because our kids deserve better schools and teachers, more kids need to have the opportunity to get to college (and be prepared when they get there), more college students need to be supported to persist to graduation and more college graduates need to be able to secure future careers. As a first generation college student from a low-income childhood, I teach because I want my students to know that there is someone who understands their challenges, who cares about their journey and believes in them.

Click here to read a different perspective on “my why.”

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