I love the classroom. I love it for many reasons, but the one I come back to again and again is that the classroom helps students know how much they already know. That isn’t to say that they learn nothing new, or that they already know everything. Rather, by giving students the tools of reflection and analysis, by pressing on their thoughts, providing them new texts to examine, giving them careful feedback, I get to teach students how to take the kernel of an idea, recognize it for what it is, and turn it into something more. I get to see them come to understand anew, become more confident and careful in their thinking, be able to explain whys and hows where previously they only had whats. And I get to learn from them, to learn what I take for granted, what I haven’t thought of, what I never knew.
Students teach us how to teach them, and I have been fortunate enough to teach students in a wide variety of spaces–I’ve taught middle schoolers in the Bronx, acted as a Poet-in-Residence with 3rd-6th graders in Detroit, taught undergraduates in writing, rhetoric, literature and science, and creative writing at three public universities, and taught graduate students in composition theory and pedagogy and medical rhetoric. I’ve acted as a teaching mentor, run pedagogy orientations and workshops, advised undergraduates and graduate students on independent work, and taught many aspiring K-12 and college level teachers. Because teachers are always learning, I have taken numerous workshops and completed certificate programs to continue to develop as a teacher and to have more to share with those I work with; I have also taught courses with a wide variety of formats and assignment structures, challenging myself–and thus letting my students learn by watching me respond to those moments of challenge and uncertainty.