In my time as a doctoral student, I have been lucky to have many opportunities to practice and refine my skills as a teacher and educator. In my time at Stockholm University, I already taught more advanced undergraduate classes. At the City University of New York, I was assigned teaching undergraduates from the university’s business school Baruch College to introductory classes as part of the General Education Requirement at Hunter College, a four-year commuter college. I have also been privileged to teach an elective class in my own area of research at New York University—The History of American Burlesque. This vast range of educational systems and backgrounds of students have truly refined my teaching skills and prepared me for a wide variety of students.
I have also been fortunate enough to work with Cathy N. Davidson and The Futures Initiative for the past two years. In that capacity, I have been part of many exciting pedagogical projects and developed skills necessary to be a successful teacher. Among many other things, I was part of creating The Pedagogy Project, collating a number of digital or collaborative projects possible in the classroom—specific assignments, in-class exercises, and other pedagogical strategies to create a more interactive, student-centered pedagogy.
With today’s technology, we have access to a variety of tools to incorporate not only blogging into our classroom but also appeal to visual learners by creating visualizations, timelines, memes, and other. In explaining my own research and teaching practice, I always strongly emphasize that digital technologies should never be used without intention. Rather, I believe that the use of digital technology should serve a purpose of making scholarship more widely accessible. In my classroom, I value making public projects part of the practice.
The foundation of my teaching rests on a deep belief that education is truly the only way to transform our world and change it for the better. In my more advanced classrooms, I always strive for a structured equality. I want to search, together with my students, for the different powers that each student has within them, to find answers and continue to question them.
In both more and less advanced classrooms, the undergraduate students who I have guided through classes such as Introduction to Theatre and Speech Communication have experienced my experiments to use pedagogical exercises and digital tools to make collaboration possible. Together, we have created “class constitutions” to guide our interactions, YouTube videos on issues from their own lives, and creative designs for contemporary, radical re-imaginings of classical plays. It is crucial for me to show students that no one can fully answer any question or conundrum, but rather how all critical inquiry must rest on collaboration as a foundational principle. My classroom must reflect this as I want it to be a microcosm of my utopian fantasy of a perfect society: full of disagreement, critical conversation, and engagement on a cerebral, aesthetic, and affective level.