What are barriers to educational equity and what is my role in alleviating them? What is school for and who decides? Constantly examining these questions, I have developed a teaching practice that is primarily concerned with developing creative and intellectual independence in all students. My practice has been shaped by the writing and research of Eileen Landay, Maxine Greene, Lisa Delpit and Anne Green Gilbert.
Teaching is not about answers. Teaching is about questions. Teaching is also about community. I want to work in a school environment that is deeply respectful of students and their families. I seek alternatives to the idea of command and control that is characteristic of many schools. Central to my practice is a philosophy based in imagination, truth and freedom.
Teaching is a creative practice. So is learning. My teaching work is dedicated to integrating visual and performing arts across the curriculum. Through the arts we define, explore and express our identities. This work is especially important for young people. Integrating the arts is about facilitating a workshop community and constructing successful experiences in which students show their boldest most confident selves in positive ways. All objectives are process oriented. My teaching is about creating time and space for students to learn from their own questions and explore their own imaginations. I believe children must be surrounded by books, words, lyrics, poems and stories in order to understand the power of the written word. I believe children must build and create daily in order to better know and express their own imagination. I want all students to feel proud of the work they make. Principally, students need trust in order to focus, grow and create. My practice is about fostering this space.
As a worker in the school system I recognize the incredible power of this network to disseminate information. Teaching is about information sharing. Teaching is about discussing the landscape of history and politics and clarifying our responsibilities in, and how to speak from, that context. Current events, field trips, laboratory activities and comparing different sources are all central aspects of my teaching practice. I believe in the power of ideas and in the power of discussion, at any age. The information we share in our classrooms will inevitably affect America’s collective imagination. I believe this is one of the most meaningful ways to change the world in which we live.
School should be a place where students learn to read the world and learn to think critically. School is a place to develop strategies, competencies and languages that are critical for operating autonomously in the world. All students should be afforded learning opportunities that allow them to construct meaning. All rules, contracts and agreements are based in a sincere mutual respect between teacher and student.
You can read more about my graduate research on culturally responsive pedagogy here.
And see my full teaching resume here.