<p>As a teacher, I prioritize student engagement and enthusiasm, and I realize a student needs to care about a class in order to learn. With this in mind, I try to create curricula that encourages student interaction with one another. I use cooperative learning structures in order to create a culture of positive interdependence, where students realize that they all have something to contribute to the classroom. These activities validate the students and make them realize that when they choose not to engage in the lesson then their classmates lose out on their knowledge, because their perspective is valued.
</p><p>When determining the content I teach, I try to keep in mind Gloria Ladson-Billing’s concept of culturally relevant pedagogy. Having received a minor Sociology at UIC, I integrate informational texts and popular culture and current events into our study of literature. For example, during a unit on dystopian fiction I integrated music by artist Janelle Monáe and an episode of the Netflix show Black Mirror, as well as articles on the eugenics movement. These supplementary texts served to make the unit feel more exciting to study, and to help students make real world connections. Beyoncé
</p><p>Ultimately, my goal as a teacher is to prepare my students to engage in the world around them critically. I use complex texts and encouraging them to evaluate what we read. It’s important to me that students leave my classroom more compassionate and socially conscious, because a large part of success in this world comes from the ability to get along and collaborate with a wide variety of people.