“Put it before them briefly so they will read it, clearly so they will appreciate it, picturesquely so they will remember it and, above all, accurately so they will be guided by its light.” — Joseph Pulitzer
While Pulitzer was speaking of newspaper articles, I find that this quote applies to my teaching style. As a teacher, it is my job to help students acquire knowledge and apply it to make conscientious choices in both their schoolwork and their day-to-day lives. I work to make the cultivation of knowledge fun and meaningful.
In a skills-based class such as media writing, students hone their ability to craft insightful and accurate articles, while exercising news judgment and doing their utmost to serve their readers. When students leave my journalism classes, they are able to act independently in a newsroom. A goal of my classes is to help students gain the skills they need to uphold the values of news media, while also challenging and reexamining existing power structures that minoritize or silence certain voices. If students choose not to seek employment in news media, they still leave my classes with a strong aptitude to write with clarity and precision. In all of my classes, students develop a greater appreciation and respect for the power of communication.
As a facilitator I encourage in-depth discussion of the ideas and issues we encounter in course materials. This discussion promotes students’ engagement while extending mutual respect between students. As a member of the field of communication, I work to cultivate a similar respect for both producers and consumers of media by frequently using real world examples. I also work to incorporate elements of media law and ethics into all my classes so that students may consider the rights of others, including their own rights as citizens and consumers.
Students in my classroom can expect a well-prepared and dynamic instructor who is passionate about her field. Just as students have an obligation to be ready for class each day, so do I as an educator. I believe instructors must have a strong grasp of their discipline, and preparation is vital to maintaining an orderly and progressive classroom. Students have a right to know the expectations of the class through grading breakdowns and rubrics that identify assignment expectations. As facilitator, it is my duty to assess the students’ progress fairly and accurately. I make myself accessible to those students who may need additional guidance. Here too, students should feel comfortable in asking questions. This gives me the opportunity to direct students in need of help outside of my area of expertise to the appropriate resources.
Learning is a cooperative process. I garner insight from students as we work together to expand their knowledge. Overall, I think it is important for me to be flexible and open-minded in my instruction. A good instructor is sensitive to the classroom atmosphere. I will adapt class activities on the spot to ensure that students are engaged and involved in their learning process.
As all students are individuals, it is crucial that I recognize their own abilities and limitations and strive to create a classroom that is equitable and inclusive. With this recognition, I hope to foster in students the confidence and ability to excel in my classes and as future communication professionals and citizens.