I create a safe place for my students to be themselves and reach their full potential academically, socially, and emotionally. Through innovative course design and differentiated interaction based on student needs, I am better able to help students identify their own strengths. I strive to send the next generation of artists into the world as life-long learners and self-advocating artists.
To prepare students for a professional career path, it is essential to approach design education holistically. I prime my students for the competitive job market by providing a well-rounded education that includes the introduction of ideation and problem-solving techniques, collaboration, a process of building vocabulary and networking skills, conceptual thought processes, multi-tasking and efficiency strategies, and exposure to professional environments.
Beyond curriculum, one of my primary focuses is instilling creative confidence in my students and teaching them to be their own advocates. By providing both constructive criticism and praise, the classroom becomes a safe environment where students can push boundaries and feel free to make mistakes on their way to learning and personal growth. Encouraging risk taking allows for success, failure, and practice receiving praise and criticism in a supervised laboratory setting. Receiving and giving constructive critiques requires a level of honesty and trust that I engender in my classroom, leading by example. Students are afforded the opportunity to make their own decisions in the design process, allowing plentiful opportunities for success, failure, and the chance to learn from those consequences—a skill that will follow them anywhere they go in the field of theatre and beyond. By normalizing this process, students learn to come to conclusions based on self-confidence and a solid level of understanding of the subject matter.
Students learn when they are exposed to multiple instructional methods. Independent reading, guided discourse through lecture and discussion, diverse visual materials, and hands-on experiential learning give every student several ways to relate to the material. The more motivated a student is, the more engaged they are in the classroom. Therefore, I strive to always model an inspired, positive outlook to education. This has led to students spending more time on assigned tasks, being less disruptive in the classroom, and motivated to continue independent study into the subject. Rather than the sole source of my students’ education, I see myself as a resource of knowledge and experience. The seeking of independent knowledge is essential to instill in young designers who will be forever aiming to master their technical and creative proficiency in this quickly evolving field.
My greatest joys are found in the classroom. I require a lot from my students. My expectations are high, but I believe that a passionate educator leads to passionate students in a nurturing classroom. As an active participant in the design field, I remain knowledgeable of the current state of the industry. I request feedback from my students about my pedagogical approach to their classes. Utilizing information gained during check-ins, I ensure that I am meeting the needs of students while improving myself as an educator. My commitment to continual growth is regularly stressed and my students are encouraged to advocate for themselves during office hours. By allowing this level of communication, I hope to continually meet and succeed student and administrative expectations as an instructor.