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L u c y M a n l e y Te a c h i n g P h i l o s o p h y

I married the military in 2006, and I will never forget the first time I stepped foot on an
Army base. My new husband rattled off acronyms I would need to know as he pointed out the PX,
commissary, ACS, and community pool. After the tour, he dropped me off at our temporary housing,
telling me he was going back to work and would return at 1800 hours. To orient myself to this new
life, and because I would soon begin my first year teaching at the elementary school on base, I
became what Arthur MacDonald introduced in 1912: an educational anthropologist, and studied the
mental and physical life of the military culture and its application to education. From my initial year
of teaching third grade on an Army base to my current position teaching writing at a junior military
college, I strive continually to improve as an educator by responding to the culture in which I find
myself teaching.
In 1994, Gloria Ladson-Billings wrote The Dreamkeepers and introduced the pedagogy of
cultural-responsivity. I keep her theory in the forefront of my mind as I articulate high expectations
for my students, act as a facilitator, and utilize a student-centered classroom by building relationships
and rapport as I carefully consider students cultural and academic backgrounds. Articulating and
upholding high expectations for my students is an essential part of my teaching. I work hard to
communicate clearly aspects of a course and components of an assignment that students need to
complete to be successful. I feel it is important to not only challenge students, but also push them
beyond what they think they are capable of accomplishing.
Organizing a student-centered classroom means I take on more of a facilitator role, guiding
my students to success, rather than directing them. I draw on my experience as an athlete and as a
coach by giving my students as many tools as possible to be successful, then creating a safe space for
them to experiment with different ways of learning so that failure isnt negative, but rather an
opportunity to learn and grow. I believe acting in this role is especially important in the first-year
composition classroom as students learn not only how to write in the academy, but also how to be a
successful college student. As a writing teacher, I emphasize the importance of the process of writing,
writing as a social activity, and the interdisciplinary nature of writing. To incorporate process writing,
social writing, and interdisciplinary activities, being an effective listener a key characteristic of a
culturally responsive teacher. I work extremely hard to understand what my students bring to the
classroom, their lives outside the classroom, and their plans, dreams, and goals for the future.
Maintaining an awareness of my rhetorical situation, especially in terms of audience, is essential to
my teaching effectiveness and to my students success.