If there is such a thing as cosmic purpose, mine would be teaching … I lose myself in the classroom. I feel “at home” in the presence of my students. I learn with and from them. I am able to imagine and dream of a better world because of them.
In ten years of undergraduate instruction, I have worked with a wide and beautiful array of young minds. While one student absorbs every word, another struggles to understand the language, and yet another wonders why it matters at all. What unites them all is the potential to grow. When I teach and work with students, I want to impart to them that learning has no expiration date and that true knowledge will humble, inspire, and ultimately empower them to realize their inner power and captain their own ship.
What I have learned most in this time, and from my own teachers, is that teaching is not just about communicating information. It is, perhaps even more, about coaxing each mind to germinate, and about revealing that one can guide one’s own destiny by means of education.
This is echoed in the Pedagogy of Freedom, where Paulo Freire recognized the necessity for shifting the role of the teacher from the disseminator of knowledge to a facilitator who designs the framework for students to construct knowledge. Thus, I always seek to be a conduit through which my students can attain deep disciplinary knowledge and problem-solving skills; explore leadership, communication, and interpersonal skills.
Above all, I am intentional and committed to cultivating a classroom sense of purpose, community, and belonging that will help my students recognize their “somebodiness” and personal significance.