Lincoln’s example of unalterable determination has always provided
an inspirational role model for my life. From the earliest moments I
can recall I have always wanted to make a difference and I have
always believed that if I worked diligently, someday I would have the
opportunity to serve in some meaningful way. While the manner in
which I thought I could make the greatest difference varied somewhat
during my youth, by my early twenties I knew without any doubt that
the profession I had been searching for was teaching.

So for the last decade or so I have gathered degrees in multiple
subject areas from universities across the country working as a
teacher in widely different educational environments all with the  hope
that I would eventually acquire the knowledge, information and ability
which would enable me to empower those around me. To date, this is
what I have discovered.

First and foremost experience has taught me that teaching and
learning are not mutually dependent terms.  I could be the greatest
teacher in the world but that does not guarantee that my students will
learn.  This symbiotic relationship, like a beautiful piece of music, only
works when both parties are actively engaged in the process.

As a teacher, I endeavor to engage, challenge, and inspire growth in
each of my students. Every class heralds an exciting new adventure
as I strive to tailor the pacing and content of my courses to the
expertise and interests of my students. I consciously design my
classes to stretch my students in many ways, engaging them in critical
thinking, encouraging them to challenge fundamental questions
regarding power, justice, and equality, with the summative
measurement being a student’s success in his or her capacity to
critically engage the course content from a variety of perspectives and
practical applications.

All of my learning activities and related measurement modalities are
utilized with the understanding that I am more interested in developing
a student’s capacity to think and do than just reiterate lesson content
and objectives. There is also no “one size fits all” way to measure
learning, thus, my various assessments often vary significantly ranging
from traditional written or oral exams to student conducted research
projects, case studies, web quests, book blogs and class debates,
even role playing  and professional efolios.

Encouraging a sense of ownership and involvement is very important
to student learning so I typically assign multiple students to start each
class period with a thought provoking article or current event. I provide
multiple opportunities for student led lessons and discussions to
encourage my students to recognize the importance for continually
challenging themselves. And I bring in guest speakers from local
schools and community-based organizations to share real life
examples that offer fresh insights and opportunities for learning.

Experience has also taught me that nothing is more meaningful than
connecting the theory and research we discuss in class to what the
students are seeing and doing in their internships and practicums.
Whether it’s a community based service project at a local school, or a
research project with a professor from another department, or even an
experiential learning activity that extends a lesson we have recently
had in class, all opportunities to connect research to practice are
consistently and whole-heartedly encouraged.

I challenge my students to share opinions with each other and to learn
the power of collaboration. I encourage my students to ask questions,
and I am upfront from the very start that I’m not omniscient. To me it’s
invaluable that we model for our students that no one has all the
answers but if they are persistent and learn to use the resources
available to them effectively there is very little that we cannot discover
together.  I want them to engage in active and participatory learning,
to challenge norms and to understand that anything is possible if they’
re willing to work for it.

It is my belief that if genuinely self-motivated, lifelong learning is to
take place, if students are to develop knowledge and understanding
that enables them to grow as critically informed and active citizens of
their communities and the world, it is my responsibility as their teacher
to make those learning opportunities as engaging, persuasive and
inspirational as possible. And perhaps most importantly, I hold myself
to the same standards that I hold my students. That is, I endeavor to
become skilled in both thinking and doing, consciously striving to help
those around me to have both the desire and the opportunity to do
likewise.

There is no more rewarding a profession, no greater opportunity for
reciprocal learning and growth, and nothing I would rather pursue than
the journey of educational excellence that I embark on each year with
my students and fellow educators.
My Teaching Philosophy
"Excellence is the result
of caring more than
others think is wise,
risking more than others
think is safe, dreaming
more than others think is
practical, and expecting
more than others think is
possible."

-Stephen R. Covey
I
   I will study and get ready and some day my chance will come.    -Abraham Lincoln