What is YOUR inspiration for Teaching?
Help us jumpstart 2017 Teaching and Learning Week by sharing your inspiration for teaching! We invite you to describe what kindles your excitement to teach by visiting the #WhyITeach platform and contributing to this visual collage. As you can see, some of us are inspired to teach because we want to cultivate critical thinking and broaden perspectives. Some of us teach to deepen wonder and awe among our students. And some of us teach to engage in deeper learning ourselves.
My inspiration for teaching is very personal and stems from the work of my life partner, Scott Burke. Over a decade ago, Scott co-created Geometry in Construction, a program where students learn geometry through the progression of building a house––a real home in which people eat, sleep, and live!––for a family in need of affordable housing. One word to describe the pedagogical practices that Scott leads in his classroom every day? Transformative.
Scott transforms the lives of students because of his commitment to recognizing and remaining responsive to the strengths, potential, and unique needs of each individual student. Scott transforms the lives of students because they see the relevance of math in their everyday lives, and for some students, they feel “smart” for the first time in school, a place where people too often experience trauma and hear messages that they are “not enough”. I cannot count the number of times I have heard alumni share stories about how Scott helped them recognize the brilliance in themselves, or how they saw themselves as college graduates, engineers, construction managers, and community leaders because Scott believed in them.
These stories illustrate my inspiration for teaching because while I do not ever aim to build a house with teenagers, I do hope that I play some role in transforming the lives of our students by helping them recognize and kindle the brilliant fire within. Although my job title suggests that assessment is my one and only jam (I assure you, it is not), I view assessment as one of many entry points to making the University of Denver the most vibrant space for our students to learn, grow, and thrive. Whether I am teaching students, faculty, or staff, I teach because I hope to inspire other people to see themselves as “history-makers” (Espinoza & Vossoughi, 2014) who have the agency, vision, and expertise to texture our world with more compassion, humanity, and joy.
So that is one of my inspirations for teaching. What is YOUR inspiration for teaching? Visit #WhyITeach and let us know!
by Christina Paguyo
Espinoza, M. L., Vossoughi, S. (2014). Perceiving learning anew: Social interaction, dignity, and educational rights. Harvard Educational Review, 84(3), 285-313.