Teaching

I identify primarily as a teacher-researcher of professional writing, but the competencies embedded within that label extend beyond memos, business emails, and reports. My teaching experience is grounded in experiences with learners both inside and outside of institutional contexts, honing skills and critical thought in argumentation, diction and voice, revision, document design, technical communication, presentation, and cultural and civic engagement.

In my classes, I seek to connect students with broader arguments and debates that extend beyond the classroom walls. Together, we watch videos about different literacies employed in the workplace and the public sphere, and discuss the implications that technology and media have on our writing and discourse. I give students the creative freedom to select topics that excite and engage them, but that also represent a broader social or cultural debate. In balancing between local practice and global phenomena, students begin to gain a more nuanced understanding of the role of rhetoric and writing in the world around them, and in turn how they can contribute to ongoing debates in meaningful and impactful ways. Technology is a crucial component of this instruction and the deliverables that students produce, but I always note that it is a tool for students to serve their own purposes and advocate for causes that interest them, rather than a learning outcome.

My experience tutoring in writing centers has grounded my teaching practice in active listening and collaboration. At the beginning of each hour-long tutoring session with a student or community member, I guide them through the process of setting an agenda by asking what aspects of writing they struggle with and where they think they have room to improve. This one-on-one practice emphasizes the personal nature of both the writing process and writing instruction, which I in turn incorporate into my teaching practice through individual writing conferences and virtual office hours, where I answer students’ questions on Google Chat.

Because we create, play, learn and problem-solve together, I must also engage empathetically with learners and recognize their humanity, just as I hope they would recognize mine. When workshopping documents with writing center clients or students in my courses, I ask learners how they are doing at the beginning of each consultation, and at the end I ask how they feel about their writing assignment after we have worked on it. I actively listen to the learner’s concerns, sharing in their joys and their tribulations, to show respect and solidarity because learning does not happen in isolation. Just as I ask my students to continually revise their papers, I too continually revise my teaching style according to their struggles and difficulties with assignment prompts and exercises. This system demonstrates my feminist pedagogical praxis that empathically values the humanity of students above all else—recognizing that learning, whether inside of the classroom or outside of the walls of the academy, cannot occur without care and respect.

Facilitating workshops across university campuses and their greater communities has taught me the importance of engaging learners with both empathy and enthusiasm. Cultivating excitement around a topic makes coursework that much easier for both student and instructor, and I model such passion in workshops that I have facilitated on the writing process and document design by sharing personal experiences—both successes and failures!—to connect with students. This philosophy of teaching is embedded in the very words that I use to describe my pedagogical practice: I use the term “facilitate” here to describe my engagement with workshop content instead of “deliver” or “lecture” because I believe that workshop participants (or classroom learners, public audiences, etc.) and I create knowledge together.