Dr. Wanda Jagocki, a Psychology professor at Hartwick College handed one of her students a graded paper that was profusely marked-up in red ink and accompanied by a low grade. The student was surprised by the colorful paper, low grade, and the invitation for a meeting after class in the professor’s office. During the meeting, she told the student that he was charming and a joy to have in class but was not working up to his potential. She told him he had so much to say and share, but was wasting it and not giving his all. Upon leaving the office and reflecting on Dr. Jagocki’s words, this student took a deep look within. This was not the first time that he disappointed someone by not living up to his potential. At this moment he vowed that it would never happen again and planned to work extremely hard on the next assigned lab report. When Dr. Jagocki returned the assignment, it came back without an abundance of red markings and the number at the top of the paper was noticeably higher than the previous grade. The student actually received the highest grade in the class and this marked a new beginning for him. Dr. Jagocki helped to turn his academic life around. This once lost student is me and Dr. Jagocki’s firm, honest words and caring was the catalyst I needed to spark the unquenchable thirst for learning that slept deep within. For me, Dr. Wanda Jagocki is a constant reminder of the impact a professor can have on the life of a student.
As an educator it is my goal to create an atmosphere that engages, excites, and inspires. Teaching and learning go hand in hand and through my teaching style, I aim to create an environment where knowledge is co-produced. I am not the giver of knowledge, but instead I serve as a facilitator of student learning. My goal is to find ways for students to become motivated about understanding the complexities of the social world and bring concepts from the “theory clouds” down to earth to meet students in a practical space. Learning about the social world should be fun and exciting in addition to challenging and thought provoking. I have had the opportunity to independently teach courses and whether it is Intro to Sociology or Sociology of Hip-Hop Culture, I am able to keep students engaged in the subject matter.
For my full teaching philosophy, please click the following link: Teaching Philosophy