april n. patrick TEACHER & SCHOLAR

contact details
West 54th Street | New York City, New York
april.patrick@gmail.com

Teaching Philosophy

My philosophy of teaching can be summarized into an eight-word statement:

engagement is necessary for learning to take place

This statement may seem obvious, but this single belief inspires virtually all of the work I do in the classroom. Though simple on the surface, the multifaceted nature of this statement is perhaps more apparent in a breakdown of my beliefs about the power of engagement in the classroom and how those ideas influence my teaching practices in both literature and composition classes. [read more]

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Literature Courses

Major British Writers at Texas Christian University

This is a survey course of British literature for mostly non-English majors. The readings began in the Restoration and ended with the Victorian period. For each day, students wrote short blog posts responding to a prompt that served as both a reading quiz and preparation for discussion that day. The major project for the course included a social networking project in which groups presented on sections of either Frankenstein or Jane Eyre and led discussion over the day's reading.

  • Course Website
  • Sample Student Work
  • Student Feedback
    • The discussions and forums are/were awesome.
    • It was great! I wouldn't change anything!
    • Your passion for literature really came through & made us more interested in the course.
    • Overall, great teacher.

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Introduction to Fiction at Texas Christian University

This course provided an introduction to short fiction for mostly non-English majors. The texts read mostly represent canonical short fiction from American and British authors. For each reading throughout the semester, students wrote short blog posts responding to discussion questions provided on my blog. The two projects for the course included a version of a literary analysis essay that was written as a film adaptation proposal and a social networking group project

  • Course Website
  • Course Blog
  • Sample Student Work
    • "The Birthmark" by Nathaniel Hawthorne: on Facebook and in a PDF version of the Facebook newsfeed
    • "The Girls in their Summer Dresses" by Irvin Shaw: on Facebook
  • Student Feedback
    • I like how you have the attendance quizzes every morning and the blogs. It makes the class keep up, which is useful for in-class discussion.
    • I really enjoyed this course. I liked the discussions and the way class was conducted.
    • I thought the course was really fun. I loved the film adaptation paper and the facebook project because it gave me an opportunity to be more creative.
    • I thought you did a great job! I really enjoyed how you created the assignments to be interesting and fun. For example, the paper assignment wasn't just writing an essay on symbolism within the story; it incorporated creativity.
    • The use of more modern ideas like movie adaptation, blogs, and social netowrking sites was a good idea. They are more stimulating to the student's generation.
    • I liked the class discussions on each story. It helped me look more in depth into the story.

Introduction to Fiction at University of Houston

This course provided an introduction to short fiction for mostly non-English majors. The texts read mostly represent canonical short fiction from American and British authors. For each reading throughout the semester, students wrote short blog posts responding to discussion questions provided on my blog. In essay writing, students especially excelled in writing a modified literary analysis in which they wrote a proposal for a film adaptation of the selected text.

  • Syllabus and Course Calendar [pdf]
  • Course Blog
  • Film Adaptation Proposal Assignment and Rubric [pdf]

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Composition Courses

Intermediate Compostion: Writing as Argument at Texas Christian University (spring 2009)

For the spring of 2009, this course focused on the idea community at different levels. The major projects included a public space analysis, a rheorical case study, a series of editorial arguments about a local issue in one of the communities of which the student is a member, and a group project about an important issue within the TCU community.

  • Course Website
  • Syllabus and Course Calendar [pdf]
  • Course Blog
  • Student Feedback
    • Amazing teacher! Loved her and everything she did...very fair about grading! Could meet with me any time (which was a lot!) - Always available/made time! Loved her
    • You are a great professor - don't change anything about the way you structure the class. Thanks for the food and working with your students
    • I really enjoyed this class & the instructor.
    • The instructor put a lot of thought into the course.
    • I think she did a great job with this class. She was always prepared, flexible, and easily accessible inside & outside of class.

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Intermediate Compostion: Writing as Argument at Texas Christian University (fall 2008)

With the political climate of fall 2008, this section focused on the presidential election for course material. In the first unit, students worked their way into the conversation around the election through writing letters to the editor, op-eds, and humorous pieces. Then, in the second unit, they completed an analysis of various primary sources related to an issue important to them as voters. Finally, in the third unit, students worked in groups as a candidate's campaign team to write victory or concession speeches after the election and then to create a visual campaign to help the candidate reposition himself or herself after the election. Students also blogged twice weekly about election related issues and the rhetoric apparent in election materials.

  • Syllabus and Course Calendar [pdf]
  • Course Blog
  • Assignments
    • Editorial Arguments Assignment [pdf]
    • Rhetorical Case Study Assignment [pdf]
    • Verbal and Visual Arguments Assignment [pdf]
    • Sample Student Work [pdf]
  • Student Feedback
    • The class being centered around the presidential election really stimulated my interest in politics and I believe will always have helped my interest in politics.
    • I think this course was great! I experienced a completely different type of writing style and learned a lot in the process.
    • I really enjoyed your class. Thank you for being available after class and making it a topic when I can learn something so relevant to us right now.

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Introductory Composition: Writing as Inquiry at Texas Christian University

Though we taught Introductory Compostion from a common syllabus, I revised several aspects of that syllabus to make it my own. Added readings encouraged discussions of culture and diversity as areas of authority for the students as they prepared for a Personal Essay unit. Also, students were required to keep a blog for drafting and revision work, brainstorming, and reading responses.

  • Syllabus and Course Calendar [pdf]
  • Course Blog (spring 2008)
  • Student Feedback
    • This is one of my favorite classes and I usually don't like writing. Ms Patrick's style of teaching made me learn to like writing.
    • I liked how students could revise their pencil grade drafts for a higher grade. I think it made me a better writter because I got the chance to criticize my mistakes and make them better. Thank you Ms. Patrick!
    • Loved this class!
    • Ms. Patrick did an excellent job with this class and I would strongly recommend her. She pushed and challenged me writing skills. Overall, excellent job!
    • She was very understanding and helpful, especially outside of class - very easy to access through email
    • I really enjoyed this course. Ms. Patrick did a great job.

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Composition 1 at Columbia College

  • Course Website (late fall 2010, spring 2011)
  • Student Feedback
    • April was very enthusiastic about teaching. You can see the enjoyment on her face and the passion in her eyes.
    • I think she did well and enjoyed being in class. I liked that she seemed to enjoy what she was doing.
    • She was very knowledgeable about the course (x2)
    • She was very enthustiastic.
    • She was very thorough with explanations, and she always makes sure you understand what you're doing before you start an assignment.
    • She really knew what she was talking about. She always answers questions and made you understand.
    • She was very interactive with us in class.
    • Ms. Patrick is very down to earth and uses good examples to relate the material.

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Composition 2 at Columbia College

  • Course Website (winter 2011)
  • Student Feedback
    • Knowledgeable, fair.
    • Was willing to help during off hours.
    • Very open to class input - very clear. Enjoyed the class.
    • Very knowledgeable about the subject.
    • Very good open lines of communication with students via email, call, before and after class. Very quick response with helpful info to complete assignments.
    • She really knew her material. Though she maintained a proper sense of professionalism at all times, the class was very easy to learn and take part in.
    • Her flow and the fact that she stuck to her plan. I was always on track.
    • Relates much of the material to youthful standpoint. Keeps everyone interested in the class material.
    • Up-beat and made learning fun.

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