I have had the great pleasure of teaching in and around the post-secondary context for over ten years. During my Master’s in Sociology at Queen’s University (2009 – 2011), through my own Tutoring Company: Gao Plus Academic (2011 – 2013), and during my PhD in the School of Public Health at the University of Maryland, College Park (2013 – 2019).
My approach to teaching centers on the following principles:
Flexibility & Creativity.
The majority of my teaching roles have included running smaller weekly discussion sections (~20-25 students) which augment the larger lectures (100 – 400 students). In this space I am able to create an inclusive environment for our classroom community. Each semester I introduce my “Statement on Accessibility” to explain that accommodations for students with disabilities is only one part of creating an inclusive classroom climate. I encourage students who encounter any issue to express their concerns, so we can figure out how ensure their success in the course. Flexibility with student concerns and creativity in finding solutions that will both help and support students while still maintaining rigorous performance in the classroom, are essential in being an accessible instructor. This means engaging with and responding to student’s needs as they arise, and students see this in my teaching approach.
“This is the first TA I have had for a course that truly understood the material and was passionate…she was always available to meet with or via email to discuss any issues we were having with course material, homework, or personal life issues that conflicted with work.”
Not all students come to the classroom with the same background knowledge or resources. To equip students with the tools they need I give them clear guidelines and feedback on assignments. I am always open to discussion or questions about
the material, and am more than happy to go into detail about any content in our discussion setting or individual meetings. This can help build trust between students myself enabling them to understand my expectations and meet the course guidelines. Students seem to be more comfortable in asking more difficult questions when I am clear on what is expected of them. This also contributes to my core belief in creating an accessible and inclusive classroom space.
“Stephanie is one of the best TAs I have had at the University of Maryland. She was always very clear in her expectations, made discussions interesting, and graded reasonably. She warned us up front that she would be tough in her grading, but honest. And I appreciated that. She always gave great feedback and I feel as though I have a stronger grasp on how to write an essay for this type of course now. She is always open to student comments or concerns. Thanks for a great semester”
Stephanie was a really great TA. She made discussion fun by making some jokes and fun slides, while still getting across the content material. She was a hard grader at times, but did a really great job with discussion.KNES 289W: the Cybernetic Human (Fall 2015)
I ❤ STEPHANIEKNES 287: Sport in American Society (Fall 2014)
Stephanie has a wide knowledge base and really helped me and my classmates understand concepts in the course. IfKNES 400: Foundations of Public Health in Kinesiology (Spring 2018)
she taught a class herself , I would love to take it.