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When I began teaching, I presented myself in the classroom by mimicking a former professor of mine whom I greatly admired. At first I could feel my nerves come over me, but with time came confidence in my step. I thought of the places where I had developed my strengths as an individual and realized that a lot of those strengths came from both the classroom setting and outside of the classroom. Many of these strengths came from previous work experience, my time with Americorps, interactions in online and face-to-face social groups, and daily interactions with friends and family. These strengths include decision-making, responsibility, and recognition and acceptance of interpersonal differences. Important to the strengths I have gainedand the strengths I want my students to gainare the development of effective communication skills, with a foundation of a strong exploration of personal identity. In the classroom, my goals are to facilitate students' development of their identities through their critical thinking, reading and writing.

With my students, I like to use texts involving current social and political arguments that encourage them to explore and analyze familiar spaces and assumptions. Students will learn to read everything as a textbe it print, visual, or auraland will use their awareness of rhetorical knowledge to make choices in how different texts can be read and composed. Dialogue between students is key in the writing classroom so they take their critical thinking skills and sharpen them in conjunction with opposing or related views. Once students are able to make, explain and defend their choices and beliefs, and after choosing the appropriate mode in which to write, their communication skills will improve.

Student's communication skills develop after being introduced to various approaches to rhetorical analysis in my classroom. Popular culture texts are often brought in as some students may be familiar with them, such as music or film, video sharing websites or online homepages. Together as a class we analyze these critically and through writing exercises. For example, we may examine the lyrics to a song and have a discussion on their themes or motifs. Then we view the music video for the lyrics, and learn how to view the video as a public text, one that constructs a verbal and visual argument. Afterward we move to analyzing other types of visual and verbal arguments, including print and web texts.

I am a firm believer in incorporating multimodality into the writing classroom. Be it a Prezi presentation, a blog, or a constructed website, I make sure that students have the option to compose a multimodal piece at least once during the semester. I believe this gives the opportunity for students to learn about the composition process outside the alphabetic essay. I heavily rely on discussion boards for students to write out possible topics versus essays. They enjoy this method versus a handwritten proposal. I also use discussion boards for students to post reflections and thoughts about units, which gives me constructive feedback. Making a website, or recording a video, or putting together a Powerpoint allow students to think critically of how to compose an argument. I have found students often enjoy this option, as it allows a little more creativity than the traditional written essay.

I enjoy teaching first-year students. They come to the university with many expectations, full of uncertainty and excitement. First-year students are surprised at how as writers, they are able to prompt changes in their audience's actions. I look forward to teaching students in their third or fourth year of college, as I will see how their critical thinking skills have evolved. Latter year students take their writing into classroom discussions, moving into a deeper understanding. In both cases, a new recognition of personal identity is the end result. Students learn more about themselves in the process of critical analysis, thus changing their subject placement as critical thinkers.

Ultimately, I do not want my students to leave my classroom only having learned how to construct a thesis sentence. They must find strength in the sentences they write, grounding in the arguments they make. The goal for my classroom is to send my students into other classes with a foundation of knowing how to make strong opinions while also maintaining an open mind. They must be willing to make educated decisions on what information will be sent their way throughout the remainder of their college career. I try to instill in my students a confidence in not only their writing but in their decision making, in the choices they vocalize both inside and outside of class. My hope is that once my students graduate, they will not only have a head full of ideas but strong communication skills that will help them navigate through "the real worls."

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Stephen’s Qualifications

Education & Certification

Undergraduate Degree: Hobart William Smith Colleges - Bachelor in Arts, Writing, General

Graduate Degree: Bowling Green State University-Main Campus - Doctor of Philosophy, Rhetoric and Composition


Archery, running, reading

Tutoring Subjects

Adult Literacy

American Literature

College Application Essays

College English

Creative Writing

Elementary School English

Elementary School Math

Elementary School Reading

Elementary School Writing


English Grammar and Syntax

Essay Editing

Fiction Writing

High School English

High School Level American Literature

High School Writing

Introduction to Fiction


Middle School English

Middle School Reading

Middle School Reading Comprehension

Middle School Writing


Public Speaking


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