Teaching Philosophy

by RosalĂ­a Reyes Simon

When I am in front of my students in a course of Spanish, literature, oral or written communication, or Latin American civilization, I always keep in mind one of my main objectives as a professor: to make them feel that each one is contributing by bringing their own heritage to the classroom, regardless of their level of mastery of the subject. As a Latina professor and immigrant from Mexico, I promote respect for expression and ethnic and racial diversity so that there is an atmosphere of equity in the classroom. I use different pedagogical approaches such as culturally sensitive teaching (respecting that not all of us learn in the same way or at the same time), collaborative learning (because I have seen better results when students interact and exchange reflections with each other) and experiential learning (to encourage their critical thinking based on their own experience). For several courses, I have found a successful tool is to have students interview friends, neighbors, or relatives, based on course topics. In addition, I rely on technology to better connect with my students. For example, I share my knowledge of different software and platforms to edit video (Adobe Premier), produce podcasts (Descript), write, and publish on blogs and websites (WordPress), among other tools that allow students to choose different deliverable formats to submit their assignments. I invite students to suggest new topics that connect with their own interests and needs, beyond what is contained in the syllabus. Depending on the students’ profiles, sometimes I try to connect them with community-based organizations that promote arts, sports, or leadership programs. I believe that language and literature courses enhance the humanistic dimension of young people because they help them to have a better understanding of the world. For this reason, for me, teaching is a privilege as well as a great responsibility that I have towards society.