Kelsey has worked tirelessly to give her students a stable classroom environment with a constant encouraging attitude we could count on. She starts her classes with a list of reminders of upcoming deadlines to ensure students don't forget which we all found extremely helpful. I had a very difficult 1st semester with circumstances out of my control that prevented me from performing at my best. After knowing this Kelsey was very understanding and provided immediate consideration allowing me time to recover and come back at my best for 2nd semester. I feel comfortable talking to her and know she has my best interest at heart.
Supporting my students; mental health is of utmost importance to me; the best learning environment is one in which everyone feels respected, valued, and able to succeed. Some of the courses I teach deal with difficult subject matter, and it is important to me that students can feel uncomfortable and challenged by new ideas without feeling unsafe. I don't know that I've figured out how exactly to do this, but it's something I continue to work towards.
In my teaching, I try to be transparent, open, and honest: I like to think that if students can 'see' the pedagogy behind the way I've chosen content and crafted syllabi and assignments, they can better engage with the material and organize their time and energy. I want to encourage students to actively think about how they are learning alongside what they are learning.
Part of this means also reminding students that they are people, not grades, and that their well-being as humans comes before everything else. Getting to know my students as individuals and not numbers helps me feel more connected to the class, too.
While I always encourage students to come to me with any concerns or issues so that I can connect them with campus resources, I also advocate for students to be experts of their own lives, choosing to take extensions with no questions asked, complete assignments in the formats that best serve them, and participate in class in ways that feel challenging but doable.
I feel privileged to teach the students that I do, who help collaboratively create a supportive environment for us all.
--- Kelsey Jacobson