My personal definition of effective teaching is engaging students within the classroom and inspiring them to carry their knowledge and skills outside of that classroom. I consider literature a lens through which to view the world around us, and writing as the most powerful tool to effect change in that world. Education is a path to engaged citizenship, and I truly embrace the adage, “the pen is mightier than the sword.” In order for students to understand, analyze, evaluate, and change their sociopolitical environments, they must possess the ability to critically read and understand texts of all formats and create texts of various formats competently. These are skills I have continued to foster in my high school, college, and pre- college classrooms since my first teaching experience as a graduate student in the Fall of 2013. By connecting course content to current events, students are able to see the value of their academic work in the real world, thus motivating their investment in their studies.
My experiences in teaching various age groups from 7th grade through college have allowed me to develop a technique that includes varied instruction and addresses students’ needs at different levels of difficulty. Through my experience at PASCHS, teaching and mentoring experiences at Rutgers Future Scholars and informal mentoring at William Paterson University, I have found that students of all ages learn best when engaged in a learning community that extends beyond the classroom. It is often the casual conversations that take place during a field trip or non-academic activity where I have seen my students making a concrete discovery about a concept we discussed in class. As a teacher, I also believe that mentoring is important not only for students, but for instructors alike. Our young people are our greatest resource, and they have countless gifts to share with us; it is my responsibility as an educator to help them draw out and hone those gifts so they may have the greatest impact possible.