Teaching Experience

Pacific Lutheran University, Tacoma, WA

Visiting Assistant Professor, Department of English

  • First Year Writing Seminar, Fall 2022, Spring 2023
  • Autobiographical Writing, Fall 2022, Spring 2023
  • Speculative Fiction Writing, Spring 2023

University of Washington, Seattle, WA

Graduate Teaching Assistant, Department of English
Designed and sole-taught all courses listed below.

  • Beginning Short Story Writing, Winter 2022
  • First Year Writing Seminar, Autumn 2020 to Autumn 2021

Teaching Philosophy

For many students entering the university, academia is something with narrow borders, limited modes of expression, and little room for thinking outside the box: they’ve been taught to think of it as a high-stakes game, where you either win or fail. As an instructor, my goal is to unpack and dismantle these notions of learning and create an educational environment that prioritizes open dialogue, risk-taking, self-confidence, and a healthy suspicion of institutional knowledges. These qualities are critical for an effective and supportive learning environment that engages meaningfully with the legacies of academic racism and injustice that have kept so many students out of higher education.

Composition and creative writing in particular are subjects rife with histories of suppression and gatekeeping. From the linguistic racism of enforcing Standard Academic English as the baseline for success, to the erasure of people of color, queer people, women, and other marginalized identity groups in reading lists, the writing classroom has historically been a threatening space to many students. My courses don’t just incidentally touch on racism and linguistic injustice—they weave an understanding of these issues into the fabric of the curriculum itself. We learn explicitly about linguistic racism through the work of writers like Vershawn Ashanti Young and Gloria Anzaldúa, and, as a class, we work together to unpack the biases embedded in the expectations of academic English writing and explore other possibilities for self-expression.

The guiding principles of my classroom are these: community, collaboration, courage, and care, all of which require a groundwork of trust. In both creative and composition courses, I seek to make a space where students feel empowered to ask questions, try new things, and even to fail, without the fear of disappointing their instructor or incurring academic penalties that may hurt them down the line. But for this approach to be effective, trust is essential. To begin building this trust, I start classes with low-stakes activities to build confidence, like warm-up responses and free writes, and invite students to share. When students read their work or share their ideas aloud, I point out particularly compelling elements of their thought processes or connect their ideas with those of other writers we have read, modelling to other students that risk-taking and process-oriented learning are valued and rewarded in this space.

I also prioritize using class time for students to communicate new ideas with each other, and to comment thoughtfully on one another’s processes. Both my critical and creative courses involve workshopping and feedback from peers, and ahead of these feedback sessions, I build in scaffolding about effective response and revision methods from creators and theorists like Liz Lerman, Peter Elbow, and Felicia Rose Chavez. This way, everyone has a shared vocabulary for critiquing work constructively and approaching one another’s work with care and curiosity.

My assessment methods work in tandem with these goals. Student writing is not given letter grades throughout the quarter. Instead, I have regular conferences with students about their progress, to discuss their strengths and weaknesses and identify what they’ll need to do to meet their goals for the course. A critical part of this assessment process is utilizing a “feedforward” response method (as developed by Sheri Rysdam and Lisa Johnson-Shull). With this method, my comments on their written work focus on what elements of the project are already working well and offer revision strategies to bring the piece more closely in line with their goals, drawing from specific rhetorical strategies and narrative tools we’ve discussed in class. This response method dispenses with the idea of writing as “right or wrong,” and instead focuses on the efficacy of individual writing choices, giving students chances to learn, grow, and change their approach in the future. When it comes time to grade student work, what I’m most interested in is their growth and learning process, and that they understand the uses and functions of various rhetorical strategies in different contexts.

Ultimately, my goal is to give my students the tools they need to communicate their own truths and better understand the complexities of the world and people around them. Through composition and writing, we can make sense of our histories, imagine our futures, and engage more authentically with our realities. Everyone deserves the chance to develop those skills, and by taking my classes, I hope students walk away with the ability to tell their own stories and craft new narratives for the future of our world.