My Teaching Life
Teaching has been my greatest challenge and lifelong pursuit as I teach those who want to become teachers. Teaching teachers requires that you, as the subject matter expert, must know better and translate these concepts for preservice teachers (students). The difficulty is that teaching is non-tangible; it does not contain properties like a product. Therefore, transferring a non-tangible entity to preservice teachers is a challenge as they cannot see or touch it but they are required to perform the art of teaching or pedagogy. Culture is the nexus of my research, so I help preservice teachers to better understand the impact of culture on student learning.
I have taught in teacher education programs for 20 years. As a former elementary school teacher, community college instructor and now college professor, I have worked with children, youth and adults in some capacity at the K-12 and above grade levels. Finding better ways to educate and enable learning is the focus of my teaching and research. This experience speaks to my commitment to the field but also my desire to help teachers educate children. As a teaching philosophy, I believe all children and adults can learn but that learning is better facilitated through culture: That is, the culture of the learner. This is not culturally relevant or responsive pedagogy as these forms are still very generic in nature. I am speaking to the more culture-specific forms of learning that adhere to the nuances of individuals and people in a multiplicity of contexts. For example, considering the language of learners when teaching a literacy lesson or developing word problems that relate to children’s lived communities. This teaching philosophy makes considerations for all students I teach, and the children and youth they will come to teach.