Sawbones is a greeting used by the Zulu tribe in South Africa. It literally means “I see you” but meaning much more: I recognize you, I understand you, and I value you as a person. I will encourage you. I will help you to achieve success.
This important concept and philosophy describes my approach to teaching students. Through active learning and engagement I recognize each student, understand each student and value each student as a person. With this underpinning I teach using the best high impact practices I have learned as an educator.
In addition, I teach with passion. As described in Grit the Power of Passion and Perseverance by researcher Angela Duckworth, ”Passion begins with intrinsically enjoying what you do. You practice. … you do it better and want to improve. You have a conviction that what you are doing matters. You have hope!” (Duckworth, 91) This is me!
Currently I teach English 990 which is a developmental education course, designed to integrate reading and writing. This is an excellent fit for my professional background.
I teach four sections of approximately 80 students. My retention level is about 90%. For my remaining teaching hours I work with students in the Writing and Reading Center.
Discipline and Field of Knowledge Applied to Teaching
I have extensive teaching experience in special education, ESL, elementary, some secondary, and many years of teaching adult learners in community colleges. Additionally, my Master’s degree in Education, with an emphasis on the Diverse Learner, has strong application for this population. Together with living in African countries and learning about cultures and educational practices there, I can confidently make a strong qualified contribution to Salt Lake Community College.
Each professional opportunity listed above has been exciting and exhilarating but I must say teaching multiple sections of the same course is supreme! In a recent article from the Chronicle of Higher Education “Teaching Multiple Sections of the Same Course”, the author B. Hara states: “Since the same learning outcomes must be met across all sections, it’s advantageous, for the students as well as the professor, for example, to pace the classes similarly. But when students across sections react differently to the same texts, have different questions, have different interests, have different temperaments, move at different speeds, keeping them interested, engaged, and curious about the material makes teaching quite a challenge.” I wholeheartedly agree with this statement.
Instead of horizontal development of varied courses, I research-dig deeper- to refine depth, critical thinking, content, curriculum, my skills and my teaching ability in a vertical fashion. Ultimately, my objective is to create outstanding learning experiences for my students. This couples well with the mission statement of SLCC which affirms “Learning: We learn as a college by building outstanding educational experiences for students”. Additionally, Salt Lake Community College is primarily a teaching institution and my students are receiving my absolute best presentation. My SLCC Course Evaluation Results and Rate My Professor attest to my abilities and I am ranked between 4.5 and 5.0.
My Philosophy: Best Practices in Education
On the first day of class I begin by sharing the components of the syllabus for my English 990 courses and one very significant, important part is my philosophy. I introduce and emphasize the importance of the principles or philosophy with my students. Initially some students are overwhelmed by this demanding course ahead. However, as each small group breaks down what their specific bullet point means - in vocabulary (examples are highlighted above) and understanding, they begin to realize almost immediately that they can achieve at a much higher level than they were accustomed to in past educational settings. Because I set high expectations at the beginning, students can predict the type of class they will be attending. Using this approach of high expectations allows for very high retention. This the beginning of “transformative education” which is an essential part of the Salt Lake Community College Mission Statement.