I love to learn. What is my biggest problem with my schoolwork? I often get so absorbed in my research that I collect far too much to condense into just one paper or presentation. Education carries me away and gets me truly excited, and it is this excitement that I want to bring to the classroom. When I speak with others about the things that I have learned, I know that my eyes light up and I tend to talk faster out of sheer exhilaration, and I know that it is this liveliness and passion that keeps people listening to me as I share my knowledge. If anything sets me apart as a future teacher, I believe it is this passion. Ever since I was really young and first entered the classroom in preschool, I have known that school is where I belong. I love the challenge of working with others to help them find the answer and grow as learners. That is the main component of my teaching philosophy: I want to help my students become lifelong learners. As an experimentalist in the classroom, I believe that education works best when students are interested, because, in nurturing this interest teachers can help students develop the skills to learn far beyond the classroom setting. Schooling should not be limited simply to the facts and figures (or, in the literature classroom, the tropes and vocabulary) that students are tested on. I want to ignite in my students the same passion for learning that I have. I believe the best way to do that is to encourage students and give them the tools to discover and learn about anything that fascinates them or that they may need to know later in life.
This is my final semester of undergraduate study in literature and writing studies with a preparation for a single subject credential to teach English. Through the last four years, my main contact in high school settings has been the observation hours required by the Foundations of Teaching class. I really enjoyed those experiences, but, in being an observer, I found my involvement in the classrooms to be too passive--in fact, the best days were the ones in which I was allowed to assist the students or directly aid the teachers by helping to grade the class's work. I cannot wait to actually be in the  classroom in a teaching capacity, but I am also terrified, realizing that I have a complete lack of experience and still have a lot to learn about the art of teaching itself. Hopefully, though, I will begin the credential program this Fall and be able to attain both experience and technique. This last semester, Fall 2008,  I participated in a study abroad exchange program at a university in the North West of England. I still cannot believe how much I loved my time there or how much I learned. Although I had no contact with students while I was there, I did learn much about how important it is to understand and appreciate the cultures of others, which will be invaluable when teaching, especially in a Southern California classroom.