Academic AppointmentsInstructor of English, Alabama A&M University, 2016-present
Lecturer in English, University of Alabama in Huntsville, 2015-2016
Adjunct Instructor of English, Calhoun Community College, 2015-2016
Graduate Teaching Assistant, Georgia State University, 2012-2015
Adjunct Instructor of English, Saint Leo University, 2012-2015
Graduate Teaching Assistant, Mississippi State University, 2010-2011
Courses TaughtCreative Writing
Introduction to Creative Writing: Poetry
Reading in Literature and Culture II
American Literature I
American Literature II
Survey of 20th Century World Literature
Love and Desire in Literature
Monsters and the Monstrous in Literature
Basic English Composition
English Composition/Academic Writing I
English Composition/Academic Writing II
Freshman Honors Composition
Freshman Academic Core Enhancement
I currently teach full-time at Alabama A&M University. I've been fortunate to teach a variety of courses at all levels, including composition, literature, creative writing, and Freshman Academic Core Enhancement (designed to help at-risk students develop and strengthen basic language, mathematics, study, and time-management skills to improve success rates in entry-level courses and beyond). I've taught in a variety of circumstances, including team teaching and blended online/on-ground hybrid courses. I find teaching to be both rewarding and challenging, and I am constantly tweaking my approach to match the interests and knowledge base of my students.
As instructor of record for these courses, I select textbooks; develop syllabi; generate and implement lesson plans, including lectures, readings, and in-class activities; create and grade assignments and assessments; and meet with students individually to discuss writing, while upholding all university and departmental standards. In addition to teaching, I tutored in MSU's Writing Center, MSU's Athletic Academics, and GSU's Writing Studio, working individually with students of all levels and abilities to help them improve writing skills, understand assignments, craft and support arguments, organize information, and revise and edit their own work. I've also tutored English language learners one-on-one.
To me, the most important thing one can teach students is how to think for themselves. I believe that in any classroom, teachers should encourage critical and creative thinking from their students. When students are encouraged to contribute meaningful content to classroom discussions, they gain an even better understanding of the material. Likewise, other students will benefit from a variety of input sources. Therefore, I facilitate a multi-modal, interactive classroom in which students are comfortable asking and answering questions and discussing the topics at hand. I give positive reinforcement to encourage students to be confidant in joining in and actively solicit participation from every student in the classroom. Training and working in a department which follows the Council of Writing Program Administrators’ Framework for Success in Postsecondary Writing, I believe that my methods contribute to students’ habit of mind and prepare them for academic success at the university level.
Group work and peer reviews are critical in developing students’ openness, engagement, creativity, responsibility, fexibility, metacognition, and critical thinking skills. In a creative writing class, students who become confidant in their critiques of and suggestions for others' work will be prepared to turn a critical eye to their own. Furthermore, discussing the best aspects of a poem—by a classmate or an established poet—forces students to articulate what is working well. The same holds true in a composition class; being able to explain an effective move, whether rhetorical or otherwise, makes it easier to put it into practice in one's own work. This type of analysis is invaluable in readying students for the critical thinking and rhetorical skills they will need to be academically successful.
In addition, by pairing or grouping students together, the classroom becomes instantly smaller from the students’ perspective; instead of having to learn from and participate in a class of twenty or more students, they are only confronted with a handful of peers. This relieves some of the pressure and anxiety that many students experience when they are expected to speak in a larger group. As the students get the opportunity to work with different groups of students, they get to know their classmates as individuals with strengths and weaknesses and become more comfortable with them. For creative writing classes, creating small workshop groups is the ideal way to achieve an initial level of comfort, especially for students who are strangers to each other and to the workshop environment. Group presentations work well in literature classes, and, in a composition classroom, cooperative activities often take the form of peer review. In reading and responding to their classmates’ work, my creative writing and composition students learn valuable editing skills that they can then apply to their own work. They learn to see their own papers through the eyes of the reader and can more easily recognize mistakes with structure, content, syntax, clarity, and grammar. Pair and group work is an integral part of any writing classroom because it encourages students to be flexible and consider alternative approaches, but at the same time asks them to take ownership of their contributions to the group.
Because every student is different, I present material through as many mediums as possible. By using images, texts, videos, music, games, class discussions, and visual aids in conjunction with lectures and classroom activities, I hope to appeal to all learning styles. I take advantage of classroom technologies and online classroom management tools to build a well-rounded course, and, whenever I can, I use real-world examples to demonstrate new grammar rules and concepts. In a creative writing setting, this translates to providing successful examples with topics, forms, or moves similar to what the students are attempting. In showing students the ways in which the material might be applied, I give them a chance to figure out best practices for themselves, which leads to a better understanding of the lesson.
In addition to presenting information in a relatable and interactive way in the classroom, I also make myself available for as much one-on-one help as I can. Although most students are able to learn adequately from textbooks and classroom instruction, some learners do better with a more personalized approach. I support students who seek additional help in understanding course content by offering one-on-one conferences for students and being readily accessible by email. Taking time to treat each student as an individual narrows the knowledge gap and gives me a better understanding of his or her needs, which helps me tailor future instruction to my students. In doing so, I hope to help each student discover the best way to use skills developed in the classroom as part of an ongoing learning process.