Brian T. Murphy
“What I wish for all students is some release from the clammy grip of the future. I wish them a chance to savor each segment of their education as an experience in itself and not as a grim preparation for the next step. I wish them the right to experiment, to trip and fall, to learn that defeat is as instructive as victory and is not the end of the world.”
William Zinsser, “College Pressures”
As a graduate of a community college myself, I understand and believe in the importance of the community college’s mission. Education should be a lifelong activity, and every individual should have the opportunity to pursue a quality education. To that end, it is my personal mission to continually improve my own teaching, in order that my students have the opportunity to receive an educational experience that prepares them for their future, by strengthening their ability to read critically and thoughtfully, to write clearly and effectively, and to think critically. In addition, I strive to enable my students to become self-sufficient learners and, ideally, to instill in them a lasting appreciation of literature.
In my classes I see my role as a facilitator or guide for my students, rather than as a dispenser of facts and information. I endeavor to foster a student-centered classroom environment, one in which students understand that they are responsible for the outcome of their own educational experience and are actively involved in their own learning. Students are encouraged to raise questions, join in discussions, and even express dissenting opinions. This free exchange of ideas not only leads to better teacher-student rapport and an increased sense of community among the students, but creates enhanced learning possibilities for both the students and myself.
I want my students to improve their writing and their ability to understand and appreciate works of literature, but I also attempt to make learning relevant to students’ current experiences as well as to their future goals. I recognize that my students may not often see any immediate benefits to writing yet another essay or to reading Hamlet, but I continually emphasize that the acquisition of skills in effective writing, critical thinking, and life-long learning will have tremendous implications in their future academic success as well as in their chosen careers. I want them to understand the need for the skills they are acquiring and honing and the practical value of this knowledge, and attempt to present materials in a manner that is challenging, stimulating, but always practical.
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