Inclusive Pedagogy

This week’s readings had me thinking a lot about the type of teacher I am. From thinking about the ways I communicate to my students, to considering what kind of subliminal cues I may be emitting, the articles truly had the cogs in my head turning.

Personally, whether I would like to admit or not, I am someone who spends a lot of time overanalyzing the presentations I make and the words I say because I believe that messages have impact. Because of that, the last thing I would ever want is for a student to feel as though I am excluding them in the classroom.  I always make an effort to make my classroom into a safe space where my students can feel comfortable to be themselves, and these days that is done solely by communication over Zoom. I explain often that we are all here to learn, and being a Public Speaking teacher specifically, I know how daunting the class as a whole can be for students who are petrified of speaking in front of a crowd.

Some ways I am able to communicate inclusivity to my students is by explaining that it is completely okay to feel nervous, and that even I do as well from time to time. I make an effort to humanize myself, and show them that its okay to not be perfect. From there, my students usually breathe a sigh of relief because we’re all on a journey together. After all, they are the ones who make me a better teacher, and it is my job to make them better speakers. In addition to that, I also allow for fun “hot seat” exercises on speech days where my students volunteer for me to ask them a random question. That normally makes them feel a bit comfortable speaking in front of a crowd, as well as allows the class to learn a little more about them. They all seem to really enjoy it, and the class as a whole ends up growing together as a community as a result.

Finding Your Teaching Voice

This semester, I am taking Contemporary Pedagogy in order to become a more effective instructor for the sake of my students. As an undergraduate, I have had a number of professors in the past who were truly impactful in making me into who I am today, and the best way I figured I could “pay it forward” is to continue to push on with my learning so that I too may be the driving force behind another students’ dream to become a professor.

This week’s readings went over finding your teaching voice as well as how to be yourself in the classroom. Having been a public speaking teacher to more than 240 students since my time began here at Tech, I found this reading to be very reflective of the lessons I had to learn along the way. From building an environment that was inclusive, to knowing the difference between being a friendly instructor and a push-over, I have had to evolve my teaching in order to grow as a teacher. Although I am still growing, I feel confident enough to be myself within my classroom, and I can tell it has a positive impact on the students I inform every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

From the reading, I specifically aligned myself with the thought process put forth by Sarah E. Deel. I put a strong focus on being approachable and enthusiastic, so much to the point where I received my favorite evaluation of all time: “Mans is a hoss, an absolute chief master” to whatever extent that means. I hope to continue to harbor such positivity and mindfulness within the classroom as well as while I continue on my journey to become a professor, following my dream and educating the youth of the world.