My first teaching experience took place during college, and involved running a theater and writing workshop in a minimum-security prison. This was a daunting prospect. It was also the spark that ignited one of my driving passions — the passion to create educational spaces for individual and community transformation. Since then I have had the privilege of teaching in a wide variety of settings — public schools, afterschool programs, refugee programs, juvenile detention centers, and more. Today I bring this passion to my teaching in higher education.
I see the work of teaching first and foremost as a matter of creating spaces that promote learning. Relationally, this means building a supportive, trust-filled, learning-oriented community in the classroom. Discursively, this means practicing and modeling courageous conversations while avoiding marginalization and silencing. Pedagogically, this means creating multiple avenues for engagement with the material. In terms of values, this means respecting students as colleagues and knowledge-creators. And in a very practical sense this means bringing in the materials, speakers, assignments, and experiences that will challenge students to challenge themselves. The concept of praxis — that vital intersection of action and reflection — is central to my pedagogy. Whenever possible, I work to connect students with the people, organizations, and activities that we are studying.
As an instructor, I have worked on courses covering an array of topics including education organizing, family-school-community partnerships, qualitative research methods, educational leadership, and race, class, and privilege in education.