Philosophy & Background
Each semester, I begin with this quote from Joan Didion: “I write entirely to find out what I'm thinking, what I'm looking at, what I see and what it means.” My stance as a teacher is always an inductive, exploratory one. I’ve had the privilege of teaching students at many different points in their lives: from traditional freshmen to migrant workers after a long day at work, from first-generation college students to students with children and families, just getting started on their careers or starting over. It’s a cliché to say that I learn from my students, but of course I do, every single time I teach.
I’ve taught at St. Mary’s College of California, a private school, and now I primarily teach at College of San Mateo. I’ve also taught creative writing and pedagogy workshops in the Bay Area. My main teaching focus is creative nonfiction, but I regularly teach courses in composition and literature as well. My pedagogy often integrates creative writing into the composition classroom as a way for students to engage their own contexts and as a way to approach analysis and their writing practice in a hands-on way, from the inside out. I’m also interested in multimodality and genre-bending: considering how form interacts with content to create meaning.
As more and more people grow up hating reading and choosing not to read, I stay committed to teaching literacy and creative expression. I agree with Kylene Beers, who has written that literacy knits people together and creates a common culture. Literacy provides the intellectual tools used to question, challenge, understand, disagree, and arrive at consensus. Literacy allows people to participate in an exchange of ideas. A democratic nation is weakened when fewer and fewer citizens can participate in this exchange. Reading and writing give you power.
Teaching is one of the greatest loves of my life, and I feel lucky to have found it. Check here for upcoming classes and workshops, and please say hello if you’d like to chat reading lists, lesson plans, or if you’d like me to visit your class.