I went into teaching so that I could have a positive impact in the lives of students and to encourage these students to become active citizens intent on securing democratic values, social justice and equality for all people. My professional goals have not changed even though I am beginning a career teaching at the university level. I believe that I have been relatively successful in achieving the goals which led me into this field, however, now I would like the opportunity to impart this philosophy to new teachers through both my teaching and research/writing. Hence, it was important for me to work in an institution where teacher training is highly valued and seen as the most important pursuit. I feel Hartwick is committed to that goal.
My academic interests have centered on theories and philosophies which recognize the value of the public schools as the institution most able to create positive change in a democratic society. To that end I have focused on theories which attempt to critically analyze existing social conditions which limit democratic values such as equality, freedom and community, so that these conditions might be made clear and subsequently changed. Most importantly, I believe the catalyst for this change can come from teachers who attempt to teach in a style which is reflective of democratic values. In teaching democracy through the "doing" and not just the "saying", teachers will best perpetuate these democratic values. I am interested in exploring the possibilities for change present within the schools and the role of the teacher as a transformative intellectual in bringing about change.
I believe that my role as instructor is to provide an atmosphere within the class which is reflective of democratic values. In this environment the instructor is not the "keeper of knowledge" who dispenses facts, but as a facilitator who creates the opportunities for the exploration of differing opinions, opposing views and critical analysis of existing conditions. Learning democratic values does not occur only when an instructor teaches facts, but it is through the process of analyzing information, facts, events and society that democracy can be explored, understood, learned and ultimately realized and furthered.