Comm 2004 – Public Speaking
As I continue to navigate my way through the world of academia, I have begun to accumulate a number of useful philosophical styles which I have added to my mental toolbox. From here, the two main frameworks which I feel are the most important to me and my teaching philosophy are inclusivity within the classroom and harboring a safe environment which consists of mutual respect. Today in this document, I will be exploring in depth the implications of inclusivity and mutual respect within the classroom, and offer my own personal testimonies as to what I have encountered while teaching.
First, I will be touching on the importance of inclusivity within the classroom. During my time as an undergraduate, I have unfortunately seen and experienced what it is like to be unable to speak your mind fully due to the relationship established within the classroom by the professor. More specifically, as a first semester, sixteen year old student attending college in New York, I found myself in a public speaking class where funny enough- our opinions were discouraged and our own stories were muted by our professor. On the first day of class, Dr. Doe, I will call him, told us that he did “not care if [our] mother had cancer” and that he did not want to hear a story about it. Now a public speaking teacher myself, I have found that the experience drove the class inward and made a lot of us uncomfortable and unwilling to speak our minds with our teacher. That is absolutely something I want to avoid, because at the end of the day my purpose in the classroom is to educate my students, and if they were to feel uncomfortable to speak to me, I can only imagine the difficulties that would have learning in my class.
From there, the second most important philosophy I hold within myself is that the classroom must be a place of mutual respect. Following similarly on my last point, the presence of respect in the classroom must be something that is built and maintained from the very beginning of the semester. Being such a young teacher means that I am often the same age as my students, and so without having that expectation built, things can quickly spiral out of control. An example of this was when I first became a teacher and had to learn the difference between being a teacher and a friend. Although I love to joke and laugh with my students, when the time comes to learn and they are still talking among one another, I found myself struggling to regain control once that authority figure role faded from their eyes. I have since had to harden myself and make myself appear older, which has helped to a certain degree, and I know it will only continue to evolve as I grow more experienced.
All in all, the years I have spent teaching have shown me a lot so far. In addition, the experience I have had with teaching during Covid-19 has also helped me to sharpen my skills and aid me in my growth as an instructor. Through the use of inclusivity in the classroom and harboring mutual respect between myself and my class, I have been able to educate nearly 240 students during my time at Virginia Tech, and I am positive that they hold their teachings closely with each day that passes. Overall, although I am still learning myself, I am excited for my philosophical toolbox to continue to grow along with me
“Mr. Costello helped in my learning with everything he did. He always offered amazing feedback to help me improve. He created a virtual classroom with so much respect and encouragement, and it was clear to see how my peers and I improved and felt comfortable throughout the semester because of that. He made class exciting and fun which is incredibly hard to do during online instruction.” – Anonymous, Fall 2020
“Mr. Costello is genuinely the best instructor I’ve ever had at Virginia Tech. I looked forward to class which I can’t say about any other zoom class. This class was seriously like a breath of fresh air during this crazy time. I know I’m not an amazing public speaker but Mr. Costello definitely helped me improve more than I ever thought I would.” – Anonymous, Fall 2020
“Mans is a hoss, a complete chief master.” – Anonymous, Fall 2019
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