In my writing classroom, I aim to create an atmosphere that is welcoming and inclusive for everyone. Some of my core values involve self-reflection, highlighting transferable skills, and emphasizing the ways in which students can engage with their own interests. I encourage my students to reflect on their writing and writing process, allowing them to analyze and critique their own writing and improvements. Often, students focus on what they have done wrong or only see the negative comments or feedback. I employ numerous freewriting activities throughout the semester. Engagement in reflective writing allows students to have autonomy over their own learning and writing process. Everyone has their own process and writing needs. My role extends beyond teaching students how to produce better writing. I do not want my students to merely memorize skills; I want them to adapt them into their own.
To help solidify these skills, I encourage students to find areas of interest for research and writing. I find that when students write about topics that interest them, they not only find the assignment more enjoyable but their writing is stronger. I also help students explore the transferrable skills that writing offers. A key part of my classroom is experiential learning. The writing and learning processes move well beyond the four walls of the classroom—and in some cases, the screen of a computer. I encourage students to draw connections between lessons we cover in class with experiences they face in other courses, as well as outside the classroom. Fostering open communication and a space to share ideas can help with these connections.
By creating an atmosphere that highlights and uplifts student voices, ideas, and experiences, students can choose how to pursue and challenge their writing and research interests. I urge students to work with topics they are curious about. During class discussion, I highlight places where lessons mirror issues they see on the news, social media, or in other classes. I want to challenge students to question what they already know and push them to examine topics or aspects from the writing process from an unfamiliar perspective.
As an instructor, I aim to create a classroom that allows all students to thrive. I pride myself in being accessible and open for students to come to with questions, concerns, or ideas. A recurring comment that I get every semester from students on end-of-the-year surveys is that I am available, and they can tell I care. As an instructor, one of the greatest feelings is knowing that I helped a student feel heard and genuinely assisted them when they needed help. I am here to guide students, not tell them what to do. It is my job to provide students with the necessary tools and offer support, not create copies of my writing and writing process. I do not claim to know everything. I have—and will continue to—learn from my students. A beautiful part of writing or a writing class is that there are no wrong answers. I tell this to my students several times a semester. Writing is a space for sharing, growing, and reflecting. I want that to be evident in my writing classrooms.