As an instructor within the helping fields – professions that are assumed to place sole focus on making one’s external world a better place – when asked to describe my conception of teaching and learning, adjectives such as “empower,” “arouse,” “inspire,” “stir,” and “awaken” come to mind. But not just teaching students to channel their energy in ways that empower, arouse, inspire, stir, and awaken targeted populations, rather to empower, arouse, inspire, stir, and awaken themselves. As a strong believer that world development can not precede self-development, I count it robbery to provide students with the tools necessary to become good practitioners without first providing them with the tools necessary to become good people. For that reason, my teaching philosophy is such: to deliver passion in such an action-oriented way that my students are led to regularly reflect upon themselves, their impacts, and their capacities for change.
How does one communicate passion, you say? By adopting a transparent teaching style that combines personal experience with experiential learning strategies, thus affording students the opportunity to use my failures, doldrums, and successes as guidelines for developing their own repositories of practice wisdom. By valuing the art of being a real person over the tale of being a perfect professor, I lead my students to feel disillusionment of their own, experience regret of their own, learn lessons of their own, and thus, create successes of their own. I aim to prepare my students for the ongoing opportunities for learning and adapting that the helping professions provide. I teach them to be flexible, inquisitive, and imaginative. I teach them to problem solve and critically think. I teach them to be ethical, research-oriented, and confident in their voices. Endeavoring to make my classroom a safe, interactive, and collaborative environment, I instill in my students the concepts necessary for life-long learning, application, and innovation. I do not just develop students who are successful in class, but practitioners who make the world a better place.