May 2015 – August 2017 Lecturer of English (Shakespeare and Early Modern Literature) and Program Director, English Department, Saint Louis University – Madrid Campus
Sept 2014 – May 2015 Visiting Professor of English, English Department, Saint Louis University – Madrid Campus
Jan 2012 – June 2012 Visiting Academic Lecturer, Department of English Studies, University of Cyprus
Oct 2003 – Dec 2011 Adjunct Lecturer (Permanent from 2008) & Teaching Assistant, School of English, Trinity College Dublin
2007 – 2009 Part-time Lecturer and Small Group Teacher
School of English, Drama, and Film, University College Dublin
I like to use every resource available to me to create an effective teaching and learning space. For example, the simple act of rearranging chairs into a semicircle can bring students closer to imagining the original staging conditions of the theatre in the round. I have found that using such involved practices has enabled me to bring students to a point at which they can learn from the experience.
The ability to adapt and to be creative is, for me, the most essential of teaching skills. In my teaching practices, I attempt to encourage students to learn from both my own and each other’s processes; to make them aware and force them to think about the kinds of questions we all pose, and the variety of tools we use (close-reading exercises, multimedia explorations, short dramatizations, etc.); the students are thus challenged to engage not just the text itself but the varieties of ways to gain entrance to a play, poem, or literary work. My preference is to explore a text through close-reading with question-and-answer sessions, expanding towards the broader generic themes and patterns from the individual work's most minute details and intricacies. But sometimes such a practice might not be intellectually appealing to all of the students in my group. So I seek out other methods that might strike their interest. For example, visual aids will often open up poetry and language for students in a way that reading and explanation cannot; exploring performance (and using the spaces of a classroom or lecture theatre creatively) can also coax students out of wanting to receive and into investigations of their own; and group and individual exercises, presentations, even debates and contests can awaken a sense of personal responsibility for the interpretive act.
I think seriously about practices of teaching, and about how I can become a better teacher. The greatest motivation for this has been my interactions with the students themselves; their successes have encouraged me to think critically about the best ways to design, deliver and assess course material. My primary objective in a learning environment is to help each student to discover his / her own best means of not just acquiring knowledge but also of finding the great joy in learning that I have.
Most importantly, what my experience has taught me is that every group is different and no single formula will suffice. It is essential to continually reassess your approach to teaching and to adapt and adjust to the individual class dynamics that develop with each new group.