Over 17 years of teaching in higher education, I am more committed to students than ever. My critical pedagogy has evolved to become more collaborative because of what I have intuitively learned from teaching my students over the years. However, this growth is influenced by a heightened awareness of the dynamic and diverse nature of our transnational society today. Students require critical awareness to contribute to society as productive, sensitive, and effective professionals and human beings. Regardless of their career path, a student must require authentic engagement, compassion, and understanding.
The classroom is a place of exploration, voice, opinion, and discovering our own truths, especially about who students are, their identities, and want they want out of life in a way that is ethical and uplifting for the students. Understanding the application of knowledge to the real world is required to gain an enhanced appreciation of what one is learning and behind the basic desire to know more. However, such passion to learn becomes stunted and application ineffective in the absence of the ability of an educator who to affirm students, provide a safe space, and to continually cultivate confidence in students about their own thoughts and opinions. The space I create is also one where the students and I engage in reflective, conceptual, and practical dialogue with real world implications.
Thus, it is incumbent upon me to foster an a space of diversity and inclusion, as well as belongingness. More importantly however, my may goal is to assist students in taking ownership over their own learning instead of me force feeding them material. It is only through authentic dialogue in class that students can apply concepts to their life in ways most traditional classrooms do not afford. I see myself as a educator-mentor. Students will leave my class feeing more impassioned and confident than when they can in into course.