Having a personal philosophy of teaching is important because, as Alexander Hamilton pointed out, “Those who stand for nothing fall for anything.” As a twenty-four year veteran educator, I have been in the profession long enough to remember when teaching grammar was punishable by ostracism from your department, not to mention the entire profession, and when teaching writing consisted of allowing students to find their way through “whole language.” Luckily, having lived through these trends and others has allowed me to take the best from each and create my own teaching philosophy.
A teaching philosophy is distinguished from other ways of addressing educational challenges by its critical, generally systematic approach to addressing those challenges, and its reliance on rational argument or evidence of successful practice.
The first guiding principle of my teaching philosophy is that I am to be a responsive teacher creating a learning environment that is responsive to all learners. As a responsive teacher, I strive to engage and assess students in order to build rapport and to immediately begin meeting the unique needs of each learner. Mutual respect in the classroom serving adult students includes understanding student motivation for engaging in education and using that knowledge to enhance motivation. A responsive teacher and learning environment creates a safe environment in which students feel challenged to explore their abilities while meeting the high educational expectations successfully.
The second guiding principle for my teaching philosophy is that all expectations should be made explicit and attainable through class attendance, instructor support, use of resources, and the application of improvements based on specific feedback to works in progress. In a classroom that is engaging, students see how the skills to be attained through successful completion of the course will translate into success in other areas of their lives, academically, professionally, and aesthetically. Much like a child learns to ride a bike, first on a tricycle then with training wheels then independently and if interested with the ability to excel in tricks or distance, students learn through the use of a natural evolution of ideas and skills. Thus it is my belief that through the use of clear expectations, the review of models, understandable instructions and steps for completion, and the use of extensive feedback for improvement, all students can become proficient writers.
The final guiding principle of my teaching philosophy is that to be a good teacher, one must be a good example of a learner. Though I have extensive experience as an instructor and educational leader, I recognize the importance of being open to new strategies, new research, and new student experiences. Only through being a learner myself can I meet the needs of all students. We live in an ever-changing world therefore the needs of students are ever-changing and my strategies toward success with all students must be flexible and fueled by the curiosity of finding best practices in each unique situation. I believe a successful teacher is a reflective teacher and the biggest challenges in the classroom are those with the potential to teach the instructor the most.
As an educator, my love of learning and my desire to motivate others to see the value in learning stand at the heart of my teaching philosophy.
2010 Fear…The Anger Trigger (FMSProductions)
2010 Writing With Home: A Comprehensive Writing Curriculum
2009 Weekly Affirmations for Pre-menopausal Women (James A. Rock)
2005 Classroom Record Keeping Made Simple (Corwin Press)
2004 Quick and Easy Ways to Connect with Students and Their Parents (Corwin Press)
2004 Wishes in the Field (PubishAmerica)
Summer 2012 “Barefoot, Pregnant and in the Big House”, Evening Street Review
April, 2012 “Feminazi Goddess”, Exterminating Angel Press
April, 2012 “The Breaking Of My Bleeding Liberal Heart”, Epiphany
ongoing, 2012 Guest Post On “Shut Up About It”
March 2012 “Occupying Hope”, Exterminating Angel Press
February 2012 “Fragile Birds: Incarceration and Poverty”, Exterminating Angel Press
October 2011 “The Perfect Job for a Bleeding Heart Liberal”, Eclectica
July 2009 “Choosing Sides”, The Sun
March 2006 “Dream”, Mamazine
September 2004 “Making the Most of Parent/Teacher Relationships”, Teachers of Vision
March 2004 “Kids Like Kyle”, Writers Notes Magazine
October 2000 “Cinderella Feet”, Anthology Magazine
Summer 2000 “Careful”, RATTLE
September 1998 “Moses’ Daughter”, Angel News Magazine
2008 “Sober, Not Dry”, Voices of Alcoholism, Lachance Publishing
Other Experience –
2012/2011 University of California, Riverside Extension Instructor
2011 – 2008 Director of The Writer’s Gallery
2012 Writing Coach/Tutor Private Business
1998 – 1996 Language Arts Consultant, Banning Unified School District
2010 “Writing With Home”, Home School Educators, Sacramento
2006 “Writing Curriculum Alignment”, Uniserve
2006 “Good Teaching of Writing”, CTA
2005 “Teaching Writing”, Teacher Educators Conference
2011 Masters of Fine Arts, Creative Nonfiction, National University
2010 CLAD Certificate, University of Phoenix
1989 The Inland Empire Writing Project
1988 B.A. English, University of California, Riverside