University Courses & Descriptions
EDUC 4135/5135 – Story and Memoir
Examines the questions of “who I am”, “where I come from”, “what I might become” and “what I am called to do” in order to remember as well as make sense of our lives. Introduces and discusses narrative theory and selected memoirs. Students engage in reflection on their own narratives and evaluate their practical and analytic understanding of narrative practice. (CU Boulder)
EDUC 4365/5365: Secondary English Methods II
Explores the underlying principles and philosophies of several approaches to the teaching of English in the areas of reading, thinking, and viewing and the practical application of these methods in the secondary classroom. Provides support in constructing activities, assignments, assessments, and units that meet the differentiated needs of students given their diverse identities, lives, interests, and needs. (CU Boulder)
EDUC 8155: Advanced Topics in Literacy Education: Critical Race Theory in Literacy Research
This course examines critical race theory and research related to literacy and literacy education. (CU Boulder)
EDUC 4295/5295: Narrative and Story in the Humanities:
Explores a wide variety of texts that might be used in secondary English and Social Studies classrooms. Examines philosophies and instructional approaches to the teaching of reading and literature. Considers the influence of story and storytelling in the construction of personal and societal meaning. (CU Boulder)
LLED 4461: Practicum in English Education
Provides orientation to English education in public school settings through class discussions, on-site observations, and collaborative inquiry experiences. (University of Georgoa)
LLED 5465: Student Teaching in Secondary English
Education Student teaching in the public school setting under the supervision of faculty members. (University of Georgia)
My Teaching Philosophy
Schools are part of a large interconnecting web of systems that often uphold the legacies of privilege, relegating people with diverse identities to the margins of the institutional complex. Because everyone is socialized into the system, it is easy to overlook the various ways in which schools reify hegemony. In fact, ignoring the ways in which schools support and sustain able-bodied, White, cisgendered, heteronormative, male practices is a normalized aspect of education and schooling. Thus, I believe that teachers and teacher educators are essential in disrupting the system by uplifting minoritized youth through the implementation of culturally sustaining practices and social justice frameworks. This belief foregrounds my teaching philosophy. Specifically, I believe that English educators have a duty to accomplish three things: (1) utilize culturally sustaining pedagogical practices; (2) create safe and brave spaces; and (3) centralize reflective inquiry. These tasks can be accomplished while teaching any aspect of education, including courses that center classroom management, text selection, and lesson planning.
Culturally Sustaining Pedagogy (CSP) requires educators to explicitly support students’ languages, literacies, and cultures, and it asks teachers to broaden our conception of culture to include youth, popular, and communal cultures. Although my students are predominately White preservice teachers who do not currently assume the role of a classroom teacher, I model CSP by assigning both theoretical and public scholarship pertaining to our class content. I also ensure that our course texts cover a range of formats and are written by and about people with diverse identities. I select these texts as a way to counter dominant ideals that constrain English education, and I also select these texts to highlight voices that are overlooked in education research, theory, and practice. In modeling, my goal is to show students CSP in action. Even with a background in CSP, however, perpetuating and fostering education that centers the linguistic, literate, and cultural lives of students cannot successfully occur without safe and brave classroom spaces and teachers who are consistently reflective of their identities.
My courses highlight race, sexuality, ability, gender, age, and religion as an entry point to conversations about English education. Thus, there are often conversations in which students feel uncomfortable. In a world that promotes violence against numerous diverse communities, it is imperative that our most vulnerable students know that our classroom will remain a safe space in which they feel comfortable enough to speak about their experiences without fear of harassment or persecution. Additionally, in a world where people are socialized to uplift and internalize oppression, the classroom must also be a space within which students can ask questions in an effort to gain understanding. To assist in the creation of safe and brave spaces, I institute a challenge by choice policy in which students are empowered to decide whether to participate in an activity. Additionally, I often use pre-discussion strategies, such as think-pair-share, quick writes, and entry questions to assist students in gathering their ideas before responding to the class as a whole. Lastly, I consistently begin class by asking students about their questions, opening the floor to a more student-lead environment in which students have control of the discussion and class focus.
As an English educator, I assist teachers in identifying ways to make their classrooms more equitable for their future students. Still, I believe that teachers cannot create inclusive classroom spaces if they do not understand their own beliefs and behaviors and how those identity facets are impacted by larger societal norms. The reflection practice is ongoing; it will not end at the end of the semester, so it is my goal to support preservice teachers in building a lifelong practice of reflective inquiry. At the beginning of the semester, I have students complete social and personal identity wheels that will assist them in critically considering their identities and examining how privilege normalizes some identities over others. Then, throughout the semester, as we read various texts, I encourage them to question how their personal and social identities impact how they read the text and how those identities may impact how they teach their future students. By asking students to engage in this practice every week, my goal is to ensure that they consistently think about how their identities influence their pedagogy.
The institution of schooling often reifies dominant values that promote violence against minoritized populations, but I believe that my job is to present a model of disruption, uplifting people who have been wronged by the social construction of difference. By ensuring that my students learn how to create safe and brave classroom spaces, engage in reflective inquiry, and build culturally sustaining classroom communities, I know that my future students will have the tools they need to continue the disruption.