Four years ago this month I began teaching. This past year was the most successful and intellectually engaging year yet.
It began in January with my teaching evaluation process at Harper College. I decided to improve Diversity, Inclusiveness, and Inequality Education (DIIE) in my classes. Throughout Spring courses, I provided a short survey to students after each class. This anonymous, optional survey about how well the sessions had addressed diversity, inclusiveness, and inequality. After a few weeks of results, I implemented course improvements to further engage diverse students in authentic, relevant learning.
I prepared my success stories from my research and presented them at the Annual Conference of the American Political Science Association (APSA). I got to spend my Labor Day weekend presenting a lecture and a poster presentation on diversity and inclusion in political science. The conference attendees raised even more interesting teaching suggestions that I have since added my classes such as a unit on the political struggles and successes of Americans with Disabilities.
Following Spring semester, I headed out west to Salt Lake to grade AP US Government exams. Three thousand essays later, I know exactly how this exam is graded. Yesterday, I was honored with another invite for this year’s grading cycle.
The rest of the summer was spent teaching an online version of Non-Western Comparative Politics. When not teaching, I designed a powerpoint and a test bank for a new American Government textbook coming out next year. I am also publishing a book review in the Journal of Political Science Education in 2016.
Finally, I am beginning the next phase in my education career by becoming a secondary education teacher. In September, while continuing to teach at Harper, I began a one year masters and certification program in social studies education at National Louis University. I have already passed endorsements in political science, history and mathematics and plan to complete additional endorsements in economics and special education (LBS1). So far the courses have been illuminating and provided me with great strategies for students with disabilities and diverse students in general. I was also able to observe teachers at Fremd High School, Hoffman Estates High School, and Baker Demonstration School. Thank you to those at all three schools for opening your doors to this young teacher. In the new year, I look forward to bringing all my experiences and newfound knowledge into a high school classroom. I will also get to continue to mentor other educators in my new role as Region 1 Representative for the Illinois Council for the Social Studies.