statement of teaching philosophy

Adapted physical activity and education is a field dedicated to modifying instruction, the environment, or the task to meet the individual needs of each person or situation. As an educator, I believe it is my duty to support and challenge my students, not only to meet their needs, but to use the information and apply it. Ultimately, through my courses, I want my student to: (1) gain a practical understanding of disabilities and the potential adjustments someone with that disability may need, (2) think creatively to problem solve solutions for individual modifications, and (3) learn to be advocates for those with and without disabilities in their own communities. I want my students to leave my classroom with the confidence to work with individuals with and without disabilities in any setting, whether it be in-school, afterschool, or coaching. Specifically, I want my students to gain the ability to work through any situation they encounter, have the resources to create solutions to issues they may face, and learn to self-reflect and monitor their own progress. For me this is accomplished by more than just a foundational knowledge; I believe that students benefit greatly from experiential learning experiences, either by working through a problem on their own or vicariously through others’ experiences.

Within each of my classess, I look to apply students’ background knowledge and build critical thinking skills through real world application of concepts or issues that we study. I work to engage all students, who can overlook the foundational concepts of motor skill progression or physical activity for example, because for them, these concepts may have come intuitively. I make my students aware of the issues that those with disability may have or how they may move differently. For example, to demonstrate how movement skills can vary based on disability, students work in labs that simulate various disabilities, such as vision impairment or cerbral palsy. I have found that students can make much stronger connections to the materials, especially when labs focus on more abstract concepts that we are covering, such as the different motor development theories. Further, I want my students to walk away with confidence in their knowledge, so that they have comfort when working with individuals with disabilities and that they may become advocates for those with disabilities. To build a understanding of some of the challenges that individuals might face, for example, students are asked to complete a lab in which they must complete a determined course around campus in a wheelchair. Quickly, students find out some of the difficulty wheelchair users can face, especially on a campus that is not flat or easily accessible. In addition to practical labs in the classroom, I believe it is important, in order for students to become comfortable with individuals with disabilities, that they have the opportunity to work with them. In the future classes, I would provide that opportunity through invited talks, observational placements in the schools, as well as volunteering in the area, such as Special Olympics. 

The formal education training I received gave me a solid foundation to transfer from teaching primary education to higher education. It allows me to pull in previous experiences when working with pre-service teachers by providing context and background examples of concepts that arise during coursework. Moreover, my experiences in the classroom in rural, suburban, and urban areas gives me the ability to relate to the situations they face and to help them problem solve. During my teaching tenure in the public schools, I was able to successfully provide instruction to meet the needs of students with vastly different backgrounds from english language learners to students with specials needs all within the same classroom. I have sought to carry that ability with me to the higher education classroom. To meet the needs of the diverse learners within my classroom, I work hard to provide information and instruction in a multitude of ways through interactive lectures and group discussions.

Nevertheless, I recognize that teaching is an ever evolving craft and to truely perfect it, one never stops learning or reflecting. Throughout my doctoral studies, I took as many opportunities as I could to work with faculty in the classroom to gain experience. My experiences as a teaching assistant allowed me to see many examples of quality teaching in the higher education classroom from small, 10-person seminars to large 200-person lecture halls. In many instances, I was given the opportunity to cover a class or was invited to speak about a class topic that gave me the opportunity to practice my teaching craft and to get feedback from students and the faculty member. Additionally, I have realized that teaching at the collegiate level takes a different set of skills compared to that of my background skills, so over the last two years I have taken part in a professional development program called Tomorrow’s Professor Today through the Center for Teaching Excellence. This program, through a mentor, provides opportunities to develop the skills necessary to be a successful faculty member post-graduation. The program allowed me to develop a course syllubus, learn effective science-based methods of teaching, as well as visit seminars on balancing teaching, research, and life. Additionally, I have found new ways to reach diverse student populations and build in various instructional technology to create a more accessable, immersive classroom experience. I look forward to having the opportunity to put these skills to work designing courses around adapted physical education and activity pedagogy, as well as applying my specific expertise to provide instruction on ways to include those with disabilities into the classroom and community programs.

Lastly, I don’t believe that there is a rigid line between research and teaching. In order to provide students with the most to date practice, good teachers need to be on the cutting edge of recent scholarship. Through incorporating recent research, along with my own scholarship, students gain access to the most recent information about movement and disability, as well as the best methods to date to reach their future students. Further, by “demystifying” research for them and providing them opportunity to not only find their own sources, but take part in the process of research, students are much more prepared to use and continue to use research- based practices in their own teaching. By becoming comfortable in the research process, students can develop necessary deduction skills needed to not only evaluate the research that they are using, but better at evaluating their own practice. I believe that by incorporating students within the research practice, either through coursework or individually, students are much more prepared to work in the world where data is becoming much more readily available and reported. In gaining comfort with the research and evidence-based practices, students will strengthen their problem solving and critical thinking skills, as well as build writting and speaking skills in order to tell others about what they know. In giving students foundational skills as well as knowledge, they are better prepared to reach out beyond their own practice and relate to other disciplines of health and kinesiology. 


See below for examples of my experiences.

collegiate teaching experience

Instructor of Record

  • Movement for Special Populations (UNT)

    • Fall 2017 - Spring 2019

  • CavEd Seminar (Teaching Pedagogy; UVA)

    • Fall 2016 - Spring 2017

Secondary Instructor

  • Physical Education for Children with Autism (Online; UVA)

    • Fall 2016

Teaching Assistantship

KINE 4000: Practicum in Kinesiology with Dr. Luke Kelly

  • Supported primary teacher with lectures and managed student Collab site

  • Assisted students in locating and securing a practicum site ranging from school athletic training to medical research to hospital physicians

KINE 3210/5210: Kinesiology for Individuals with Disabilities with Dr. Luke Kelly

  • Supported primary teacher with lectures and managed student Collab site

  • Graded student work (e.g. presentations, assessments, and papers)

  • Assisted with test creation and administration

KINE 5110: Assessment in Kinesiology with Dr. B. Ann Boyce

  • Supported primary teacher with lectures and managed student Collab site

  • Graded student work (e.g. presentations, assessments, and papers)

  • Assisted students with statistics problems and analyzing data.

  • Organized student data collection days.

KINE 2200: Motor Development with Dr. Martin Block

  • Supported primary teacher with lectures and managed student Collab site

  • Graded student work (e.g. presentations, assessments, and papers)

  • Assisted with the lab work

  • Worked with instructor to continuously update the reading list and evaluate the effectiveness of lab assignments

KINE 5120: Secondary Teaching Methods with Dr. B. Ann Boyce

  • Supported primary teacher with lectures and managed student Collab site

  • Graded student work (e.g. presentations, assessments, and papers)

  • Observed student teachers in secondary placements

KINE 5110: Elementary Teaching Methods with Dr. B.Ann Boyce

  • Supported primary teacher with lectures and managed student Collab site

  • Graded student work (e.g. presentations, assessments, and papers)

  • Observed student teachers utilizing Systematic Observation techniques

  • Provided feedback and mentored student teachers 

EDHS 2000: Introduction to Kinesiology with Dr. Luke Kelly

  • Supported primary teacher with lectures and managed student Collab site

  • Graded student work (e.g. presentations, assessments, and papers)

  • Assisted students with research projects

  • Held regular office hours to accommodate students needs.

  • Designed review session

guest/invited lectures

Content Teaching Academy at James Madison University

  • Lecture on “Working with Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder”

AutismSpeaks Club at University of Virginia

  • Led training seminar on “Working with Individuals on the Spectrum”

Kinesiology for Individuals with Disabilities at University of Virginia

  • Taught undergraduate classes on “Autism Spectrum Disorders” and “Learning Disabilities”

Seminar in APE at University of Virginia

  • Led Graduate seminar on “Dynamic Systems and Task Constraints”

Assessment in Kinesiology at University of Virginia

  • Taught Graduate classes on “Regression” & “Data Collection”

Motor Development at University of Virginia

  • Taught undergraduate classes on “Locomotor Skills” & “Manipulative Skills”

Elementary Teaching Methods at University of Virginia                 

  • Proctored classes on “Behavior Management Strategies” & "Child Fitness"

Introduction to Kinesiology at University of Virginia 

  • Proctored classes on “Research Introduction” & “Data Collection”

  • Data Analysis Podcast - Download Coming Soon

Survey in Autism Spectrum Disorders at University of Virginia

  • Proctored classes and led class discussion on “Evidence-Based Practice” & “Teaching Children with ASD”

non-collegiate teaching experience

Poplar Ridge Challenge Course at University of Virginia, Lead Facilitator, Charlottesville, VA

April 2014 - Present

  • Used experiential outdoor learning to assist a variety of groups, ranging from college students to university faculty/staff to active military, learn to work better as a team, develop communication skills, and push past personal boundaries.

Honey Creek Community School, K - 8th Grade, Physical Education Teacher/WSI, Ann Arbor, MI

August 2012 - July 2013

  • Taught progressive physical education and aquatic lessons based on Michigan Grade Level Content Standards and NASPE Standards

  • Utilized technology within the classroom to connect units and advance learning

  • Worked closely with many students with varying types and degrees of disabilities, through modified physical activity lessons

  • Collaborated with the Wellness Committee to create a community based approach to overall wellness within the school

Alsup Elementary IB World School, K - 5th Grade, Elementary Physical Education Teacher, Commerce City, CO

August 2011 - May 2011

  • Created lessons and daily objectives based on Colorado and national standards for physical education, as well as created skill and unit assessments based on those standards

  • Assisted with morning running program and after-school sports club

  • Acted as co-leader on school wellness team, as well as participated on the district wellness team

Lapeer Community Schools, Early 5 - 6th Grade Physical Education, Elementary Phys Ed Teacher, Lapeer, MI

September 2009 - July 2011

  • Students were taught and assessed on basic locomotor movement and manipulative skills (such as dribbling, overhand throw, and sidearm strike), which were aligned with the National Association for Physical Education and Sport standards and the Michigan GLEC standards

  • Worked with fellow physical education teachers to propose new health courses for middle school curriculum

  • Collaborated with technology teachers to raise awareness and funds for the American Heart Association

  • Started a running club to promote physical activity outside of school

  • Created a website to showcase student achievements and promote physical education in the community

Professional Education Services Group, K - 12th Grade Gen./Sp. Education, Substitute Teacher, Washtenaw County, MI

October 2008 - June 2009

  • Taught various age groups and lesson plans in the school districts of Ann Arbor, Saline, Ypsilanti, Dexter, Chelsea, Lincoln, Manchester, Whitmore Lake, Willow Run and Milan

  • Taught in multiple learning environments, including advanced and special education classrooms

  • Worked in a variety of different SES levels within the various school districts

  • Assisted with daily activities within each school

Scarlett Middle School, 6th - 8th Grade Physical Education, Student Teacher, Ann Arbor, MI

March 2008 - April 2008

  • Developed lesson plans and taught Basketball and Rugby units to 6th – 8th grade students

  • Taught Fitness, Speedball, Kickball, and assisted the primary instructor with swimming lessons • Collaborated with other Physical Education teachers to teach joint lessons

  • Observed disciplinary methods and administrative duties of teachers and staff

Logan Elementary School, K - 5th Grade Physical Education, Student Teacher, Ann Arbor, MI

January 2008 - February 2008

  • Developed lesson plans and taught a Floor Hockey unit for 3rd – 5th grade students

  • Taught cooperation/team building lessons and assisted with computer media classes

  • Maintained positive working relationships with tenured teachers, as well as discussed teaching methods and strategies for working with developmentally challenged students

KidSport Morning/Afternoon Camp, Preschool - 8th Grade Physical Education, Team Leader/WSI, Ann Arbor, MI

Summers 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, & 2013

  • Developed and taught team sports, individual sports, dance, and team building activities

  • Worked with other team leaders to ensure comprehensive camper experience

  • Designed swim lessons to improve overall ability and ensure maximum learning

  • Lead and assisted in the Afternoon Camp environment, teaching skill specific activities including Basketball,

  • Baseball/Softball, Soccer, Ultimate Frisbee, Tennis, Hockey, Handball, Rugby, and Golf

Saline Senior High School, 9th - 12th Grade Physical Education, Assistant, Saline, MI

January 2007 - April 2007

  • Helped students with skills and development

  • Observed multiple lessons and methods of implementation for high school physical education

Thurston Elementary School, Preschool - 5th Grade Physical Education, Assistant, Ann Arbor, MI

October 2006 - December 2006

  • Taught educational gymnastics

  • Aided students in advancing their skill levels in various sports and activities

  • Observed different ways of teaching the various levels of elementary physical education

Northside Elementary School, 1st - 5th Grade Physical Education, Teacher/Assistant, Ann Arbor, MI

January 2006 - April 2006

  • Planned and taught lessons to 1st - 5th grade students utilizing the EPEC lesson plan format

  • Collaborated with other college classmates to create a better learning environment for the students

Coaching Experience

Honey Creek Community School, 6th - 8th Grade Coed Field Hockey, Head Coach, Ann Arbor, MI

August 2012 - October 2012

  • Fostered importance of teamwork within the players

  • Created a positive team environment, focused on overall team improvement

  • Taught concept of goal setting and keeping yourself true to your goals.

West Middle School, 7th - 8th Grade Boys Baseball, Head Coach, Ypsilanti, MI

March 2007 - May 2007

  • Assessed talent levels of 7th and 8th grade boys

  • Taught new skills to both experienced and inexperienced players

  • Developed budget for new equipment

  • Worked with administrators and parents to ensure a great start to a brand new program