When I began teaching Principles of Microeconomics in the Iowa Medical and Classification Center (IMCC), a local state prison for men, I anticipated that there would be challenges to overcome. Many of the men there had expressed a desire to take a technical course (my course was the first to be offered for college credit involving mathematics), but also a great concern that they would struggle with math. My solution was to spend the first week on a comprehensive math review. However, because they had to face challenging material so early, my students began to lose confidence in their ability to succeed in the course. From that first week, I had to employ all of my teaching skill to give my students the best opportunity to learn. I spent time encouraging my students, letting them know that they could succeed and I would support them. I came into the classroom everyday with an energy for economics, which my students began to share. I stayed true to my goal of giving my students strong mathematical and theoretical foundations for their learning, while building in in historical context and real world examples. These goals of care for my students, enthusiasm for my subject, and clarity in communication became central tenets of my teaching philosophy.
During our semester, my students at IMCC and I overcame many impediments together, ranging from the procedural (class was interrupted daily for a count by the corrections officers), to the logistical (my availability for office hours was limited to scheduled study sessions, so I trained with a masters in public policy an inmate to be my teaching assistant), to the humorous (a number of students were involved in a dog training program and would bring their animals to class. During exams, the dogs would sense the students' nervousness become distressed. To calm them down, I ended up playing with a lot of dogs while proctoring exams!). The greatest problem was one of confidence. I spent a great deal of time convincing hard-working and smart students that they were doing well and should not drop the course. While the problems I faced were often unique to the prison environment, I believe that working with my students to help them succeed made me a more versatile, caring, and ultimately a more effective teacher in any classroom.
By listening and responding to my students' concerns, and by encouraging them, I saw a significant transformation in my classroom over my semester at IMCC. In the last essay, I asked my students to model a strategic interaction that they observed using the game theoretic tools discussed in class. My students produced excellent work, modeling aspects of prison life such as congestion in the gym, breaking down the reasoning behind their decisions while playing Dungeons and Dragons, and even planning out how they would market a future entrepreneurial venture. It was also clear in other ways that they applied their new skills beyond academic environments. My inmate teaching assistant told me that my students began having more intellectual conversations at meal times or in their cells. A corrections officer who worked closely with some of my students told me that they comported themselves differently because they felt they had proven themselves capable by succeeding in my class.
I am interested in teaching Microeconomics (particularly Game Theory), Macroeconomics, Search Theory, and Political Economy. On the undergraduate level, I also have interest and experience in teaching Money and Banking, History of Thought, and Trade. I hope to bring my excitement and skill for teaching to your department.
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- Principles of Microeconomics- Spring 2019
- Principles of Macroeconomics- Summer 2016; Fall 2017
- Principles of Macroeconomics with Prof. Jennifer Fuhrman- Fall 2014; Spring 2015; Spring 2018; Fall 2018
- Money Banking and Finance with Prof. Michael Choi- Fall 2014; Spring 2015
- Global Economics and Business with Prof. Hennadige Thenuwara- Fall 2016
- Global Economics and Business with Prof. Young Sik Kim- Fall 2015; Spring 2016
- Public Policy with Prof. Hennadige Thenuwara- Fall 2019
- Money Banking and Finance with Prof. Hennadige Thenuwara- Fall 2019
- Intermediate Macroeconomics with Prof. Jennifer Fuhrman- Fall 2019
- Intermediate Macroeconomics with Prof. Anne Villamil- Spring 2019
- Behavioral Economics with Prof. Sarah Frank- Spring 2019
- History of Thought with Prof. Gene Savin- Fall 2018