Geographies of Everyday Life

Subtitle

Teaching

Teaching is one of my passions in my life and my work, and I am committed to teaching excellence. My teaching approach and teaching philosophy are informed by my extensive research in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, and many, many years of teaching.

Since 2001, I have had the privilege of teaching over 1000 undergraduate students in various classes for Continuing Education in the Geography Department at Ryerson University.  I teach geography courses in the Winter, Spring and Fall semesters, namely Interpreting Human Environments (2001 – present), Geography of Everyday Lives (2006 – present), and the Geography of Recreation and Leisure (2004 – present).

To view details about the course I invite you to click on the links above.

 

Teaching Philosophy

Never enter into a classroom without first assuming that someone in there is of nobler heart and sounder mind than yourself

George Grant

 

Teaching is a privilege, an honor, and a responsibility of the highest order. It is an opportunity to participate in the personal and educational journeys of students, while bearing witness to the tremendous changes which learners can experience in stimulating, inspiring, engaging, and rigorous educational environments. I believe that teaching is not just about delivering content; it is about creating academically-based, yet personally engaging and contextualized educational environments that are both rigorous and meaningful. That said, I believe the classroom / educational environments should challenge conventional modes of knowing and learning. As such, educators need to foster independence, collaborative work, and community responsibility, and to encourage students to ask interesting and provocative questions, not simply the questions deemed to be ‘right’ or ‘appropriate’.

 

I approach my teaching with great passion, enthusiasm, and heart, as well as dedication to my students. I employ multiple strategies and approaches in my classrooms, all of which display my commitment to fostering engaging, challenging, active, and collaborative learning environments.

 

As my students will attest, my classrooms are active and participatory, and utilize numerous techniques and strategies to enhance and expand the learning experience of the students. I am also an adaptive and creative educator who creates flexible, open, and accessible learning environments that foster intellectual curiosity, critical self-reflection, learner independence, and active engagement.

 

I truly believe in the sheer power of learning and education, not only to change and transform the lives of students, but also the lives of the educator. As such, I endeavor to be a critically reflective practitioner, and to continually challenge myself to become an ever-better teacher, facilitator, and learner in order to provide students with the space and the freedom to learn.

 

Teaching is a challenging and stimulating vocation, but it is also a difficult skill that needs continual attending to and developing. In the words of Heidegger -  “… teaching is more difficult than learning because what teaching calls for is this: to let learn. Indeed, the proper teacher lets nothing else be learned than—learning…”  - that is what I always strive to do in the classroom and as a teacher: to let learning emerge and to let learn.

 

As some of my previous students have shared on course evaluations:

 

Amazing, Amazing, Amazing. Yes, she is a hard marker, but she makes it easy to get a good

grade. She'll make time to meet with you and she actually answers e-mails. She is always

available for her students so if you get a bad grade in her class it is your own fault.

In short, take this woman's class, you will not regret it [GEO106 10/21/11]

 

The instructor is one of the best there is! [CGEO802 9/26/11]

 

Maria was a great instructor, she uses a variety of examples personal and from other sources that helped me really understand the course material [GEO802 9/26/11]

Maria is an excellent teacher. She knows the material and explains it

in a way that is stimulating! The way Maria taught this course actually

made me think of switching my major to Geography! I have enjoyed every

minute of it. I like that she is straight to the point - she is a quick thinker

 and leads the class in that way. [GEO802 9/26/11]

 

Maria is an excellent professor. I thoroughly enjoyed being in her class!

 

Maria was amazing. I really enjoyed taking this course with her. Her experience and knowledge base related to recreation and tourism brought in a different aspect of the course. I enjoyed her teaching style as well. [GEO802 9/23/11]

 

Excellent Prof. Excellent Class. Great to see a prof as passionate as Maria. Take the course. You will enjoy the content and her great sense of humour! [GEO802 1/23/10]

 

Excellent class. Excellent Prof. Take the class, you will enjoy the material and Maria's sense of humour! Its really great to see a prof that is passionate about the subject matter and loves to teach [GEO106 1/23/10]

 

Excellent Prof. She is very passionate about the subject matter. Take her course, you'll love her teaching style and the material!  [CGEO106 12/17/09]