So who's posting all this stuff?
Hi, everyone! My name is Tiffany Johnson, and I teach Legal Studies at the University of Memphis in Memphis, Tennessee. I coordinate the program — managing adjuncts, advising students, and dabbling in marketing and recruitment. I'm not a "formally trained" teacher. That is, I don't have a stack of degrees in education, I'm not a published researcher, none of that jazz. I'm just a regular Joe (or Jane) who woke up one day and decided to give teaching a whirl.
Actually, my first profession is law. I'm a practicing attorney, and I put in a few years at a pretty big firm before venturing out on my own as a freelance legal writer. But I've always had the teaching bug. Presentation skills, legal analysis, writing strategies, hip hop dance, voting procedures, even firearms safety classes. If it can be taught, chances are I'll enjoy teaching it (with the caveats below). It wasn't until I started freelancing that my schedule opened up for teaching on a full-time basis. And that's when the games really began!
I knew early on that I wouldn't have the patience for grammar school (to all the toddler whisperers out there, hats off to you). I did a stint in secondary education, and that was pretty cool (albeit saddled with politics and red tape). Ultimately, I found my comfort zone at the collegiate level. Most of my students are working adults, and many come from challenging backgrounds.
For the first few years, I flailed my way around, hoping upon hope that I might luck up and do something right. I made a lot of discoveries by trial and error. But one thing I couldn't do was invest a heap of time catching up on stuff I missed by not getting a doctoral degree in education. I had to just learn on the job, and most days, I unwittingly took the scenic route. It was and remains a humbling experience. But it's also been very liberating.
When asking veteran teachers for help and reading what the greats have written, I often felt like I was floating in space. I needed concrete deliverables, not warm and fuzzy ideals. Don't get me wrong. Ground-breaking academicians continue to do the yoemen's work of teasing out all the more esoteric elements of this profession. But for all the regular folks who just need a hand with everyday teaching strategies, I suppose this site is my effort to make a modest contribution.