I believe within each person lies a desire for learning and understanding. I will set that desire ablaze acting as guide, role model, and co-learner, furthering my own literacies alongside my students. I will strive to communicate the values of social equality, intellectual curiosity, artistic integrity, and human potential.
Literature weaves through every aspect of life; therefore, I will resist the idea of literature as simply a contractual transaction that can be concluded by reading an author and crossing him or her off a list. Stories are a part of our very being. An essential, basic, world-wide canon of literature exists that underpins all cultural literacy. Understanding the political and social conditions which shaped any particular piece of literature promotes critical thinking about the contingency of our particular historical moment and challenges cultural assumptions.
An intimate connection also exists between the acts of reading and writing. Writing about literature ensures an individual perspective to the examined text, and once students conceive of their own writing as new knowledge, they then begin to view themselves not just as passive consumers of information, but as active agents of cultural production. Writing, however, can be intimidating so I, as fellow writer, reader, coach, and editor, will encourage students through the act of creative writing without fear of reprisal.
I am duty-bound to assure each of my students can read proficiently and can write effectively. My approach will be holistic, combining lecture, group work, in-class exercises, directed reading, modeling, and collaboration. With the understanding that most students do not buy books of poems or stories, that most students have not seen plays or screenplays in written form, and that most students do not read unless in connection to a test or grade, I will immerse students in literature and writing requiring them to borrow books, to listen to authors talk about their work, to attend literary events, and require that they themselves discuss their own reading and writing experiences. Assessment will be an integrated and ongoing component of the classroom, and I will utilize a wide variety of assessment techniques such as power point presentations, classroom discussion, papers, pre- and post- tests, and the development of individual student portfolios.
As a student, I have observed that the best teachers are those that care the most about teaching. This passion is the single most vital component of effective teaching as it leads to thorough preparation, continuous evolution of teaching skills, and the pleasure of learning right alongside your students. This is my passion and what has ignited my fire.