I count 2001 as when my teaching journey began. I was coaching a 14 year old baseball team with one of my best friends and as I worked with players and watched them grow and their performance improved, it truly impacted me as I realized I was having a real, positive impact on their lives. I came to understand that for me, there was nothing more rewarding than watching someone reach or exceed their goals because of something I did to help them. With this understanding, I decided to become a teacher. I’ll be honest. Teaching is hard, especially in the beginning. It took a lot of experience and learning for me to get to the place where I earned teaching awards from the Political Science Departments at Ohio University and the University of Oregon.
I have offered courses in many different areas including International Relations and Comparative Politics a the college level and US History, US Government, Economics, Personal Development, and Microsoft Office at the high school level.
My primary goal when teaching is to make my courses as meaningful and useful for my students as possible. I have found that when I show up for my students and believe in them they show up for me and work that much harder. I believe the most important thing I do in my courses is I encourage students to take ownership of their intellectual and academic growth. This alerts students to the agency they possess inside and outside of the classroom, and ultimately helps students to become more self-determined individuals. When students are given opportunities to take ownership of their learning, they are more engaged in the course and feel more confident discussing and analyzing difficult ideas and concepts. And, many will put forth amazing effort when they are given the chance to take ownership of their learning. All of the methods I employ in a classroom work towards this end by setting clear expectations for the course as well as increasing student voice and student choice, which create more opportunities for authentic learning and encourage student ownership of learning. I enjoy working with students from diverse backgrounds and helping them to think bigger and from multiple perspectives about the world we all share.