teaching statement

Teaching Statement

How I view the Learners

I have worked with elementary and high school students, apprentices, university students and adults in professional and academic settings, and I found that I teach at my best when I have a strong sense of what the learners want to accomplish and where they stand. It is always about who, what, and to what end. I found that resistance or lack of motivation in both young and senior learners is a signal to me as their teacher to come up with other forms of activities, other versions of the content, and another approach to allow everyone to find a way of engaging actively with content. Very few come into my - or any - classroom with the intent not to learn, but some have learned to not like learning. I find it part of my profession to explore those histories with them and see if we can develop a more productive strategy.

how i lead in my classroom

I start any instruction with an activity that gets people involved with the content in a way that is easy and accessible, and will lead to an immediate first achievement. That strategy has worked well in two ways: First, it allows me time to observe learners and learn about their habits, their self-organization, their group dynamic and the individual roles within that group, etc. so that I can choose meaningful content and create a workable classroom for them. Second, I establish tangibly that my classroom and my instruction is about trying out ideas, test-running arguments, and making mistakes where all of us involved can learn from them together.

how i understand teaching

Teaching is the core of schooling and happens in the exchange between exemplary content, learner(s) and teacher(s) in order to allow learners to acquire knowledge. The basic idea is to walk out with more than what they came in, yet how broad or deep their knowledge becomes is something difficult to steer. My expertise is to understand learners and their needs, and create a safe environment for them to experience the content in as many ways as I can possibly come up. The more, the better, because it increases the chances that everyone in class will find something that speaks to them and therefore sticks with them once they more outside of the classroom. Teaching is providing material and encouragement to engage with that material fruitfully. That way, learners can develop both what they learn as well as themselves.