Philosophy of Teaching Statement
In a senior seminar on nineteenth-century American women writers taught at Brown University, the students, myself, and our writing fellow worked together to create an anthology of the students' seminar papers. As a semester-long, process-oriented, collaborative endeavor that required patience, commitment, cooperation, and rigor--on an individual as well as a team level--making the anthology is a prime example of how my teaching philosophy works in the classroom.
Creating a learning environment in which all the participants feel that they are an essential part of a collective effort inspires students to value not only the texts they are studying, but also their own ideas and the learning process itself. In order to create such an atmosphere, building trust between myself and students, as well as between the students themselves, is essential. By emphasizing that learning is a skill that needs practice just like any other skill, I strive to make the classroom a place where it is safe for each person, including myself, to take risks; where mistakes and frustrations are recognized as part of the growth process; and where thinking, no matter what form it initially takes, is encouraged and rewarded.
Essentially, the crux of my teaching philosophy is this: I let students know that there is no other place I would rather be at that moment than with them, hearing their perceptions, learning about their ideas and their lives, helping them realize their potential. When students experience learning as an interactive challenge, they do their best work and inspire me to do the same.