Nothing I do as an academic professional is more important than teaching. As a professor, I prepare and challenge my students to be more engaged in the world.
In the foreign language classroom, I use a proficiency-based approach to empower students. They begin to use functional Spanish from day one, but soon realize that they can use the language outside class as well — both in their community and on the internet. I teach them to produce and comprehend both written and spoken Spanish, and I enrich my teaching of language with practical information (often based on my personal experience) about Hispanic culture so that my students can apply their knowledge in the real world. Students leave my classes better prepared to use Spanish to interact with the world arround them.
In literature classes I ask questions that force students to to read carefully, to think deeply, and to communicate effectively. I try to balance close readings with the placement of texts in their socio-historical context, but I also often connect texts to broader cross-disciplinary questions through the use of a few basic philosophical and theoretical principles. Students leave my classes better readers, better thinkers, and better communicators.
While I believe that there is quite often no greater teaching tool than a piece of chalk or dry erase marker, I also carefully implement newer technologies to enhance my teaching. This has led to my use of blogs and social media as integral elements of my courses. Students leave my classes knowing how to use technology to express themselves and participate in global conversations.