Teaching Philosophy

Welcome to my ongoing reflections about teaching. The content here will continue to evolve but I wanted to use this space to promote my belief that teachers and students need to work together to build a responsible and constructive learning environment. In light of my commitment to become a better teacher, and to allow my students to benefit from the comments of previous students, please see the following listing of all my teaching evaluations from Mount Royal University and the University of Victoria.

Having sat on many hiring committees over the past 20 years I have had the opportunity to read many colleague’s statements about their approach to teaching (commonly referred to as a “teaching philosophy”) and while some were excellent and passionate, others were trite and boring.

My approach to teaching is less about a defined philosophy or approach than it is about how I see myself and my career as a teacher. In really simple terms I see myself as a passionate tour guide who shows students the wonderful world of sociology. As I stand in front of a new class of students for the first time I see them as visitors to my country who are looking to me to show them all the highlights as well as putting their trust in me to make sure they do not get lost or hurt on the journey. I love teaching introductory sociology because I have the wonderful opportunity of showing students the very best of sociology and the beauty of its diversity. My hope is that our time together will help them see the areas of sociology they would like to visit again and by doing so inspire them to continue their journey.

I realize this is a simplistic approach to teaching but I can assure you that it is difficult to achieve. During our journey some students get motion sickness, some want to phone their mom, while others are so happy to be on their own for the first time that they lose focus and stay out too late and “miss the bus”.

I have the best job in the world – I am around people who are just beginning their journey into sociology. I believe that in my own way, I am changing the world, one student at a time.