Since I started teaching in 2016, I have developed my identity as a teacher, but much like my research interests, it is always evolving. While I was a teacher at a community college, I struggled at first with finding my teaching identity. I started as someone who valued “correctness” and approached it from a deficit model of teaching. I exited my Master’s program with the idea that my students didn’t know how to write correctly, so I was there to teach them. Oh, how wrong I was! I realized my students knew a lot about what they were writing about, especially when it was a topic they loved. The mechanics were sometimes messy, but that became less important. What my students were writing about, and how well they were able to get their point across, regardless of format or grammar, became much more important.
Now that I am teaching in a Writing About Writing environment instead of the 5-paragraph model, I feel more at ease in my development as a teacher. And I’ve been able to see my students become more at east with themselves as writers. I use labor-based contract grading rather than a standard grading system because it eliminates the racist/classist aspects of the traditional system. In addition, it is more reflective of students growth over the course of a semester.
I use a lot of popular culture in my lessons, and encourage students to use multimodal writing. Students are used to digital writing, so incorporating it into the classroom helps them realize their own potential as writers.