I’ve been a Girl Scout my whole life. My troop was a very outdoorsy one that spent a non-trivial amount of time camping and hiking. We learned the basic principles of “Leave No Trace” very early on, but then our troop leaders took it a step further. They urged us to put in that little bit of extra effort and leave things better than we found them. When we went camping this usually panned out as picking up trash off of trails, but the sentiment stuck with me. If everyone strives to leave things better than they started – even if only by a little bit – then the overall state of things will consistently improve.
This philosophy has influenced how I approach teaching. For every class I teach, I set a goal to “leave” it at the end of the semester just a little better than I found it. Sometimes that means reformatting assignments to be screenreader accessible, sometimes it means adding new activities or demos to the existing curriculum, and sometimes it means refining my own teaching skills through additional trainings or workshops. And if I teach that class again in a year or two? Same thing. There is always room for small improvements in a class, and several years of small improvements will eventually sum up to a significantly improved class and overall better student learning.
Use the following links to read more about my teaching experience, new curriculum I’ve developed, and pedagogical training I have been involved in.