Joe Bodenrader, Social Studies

What is your favorite part of your job?

The students! I know that sounds cliche, but the students at CC are fantastic. They come to class ready to learn, they ask great questions, they share their ideas in class discussions, etc. This makes my job a lot easier, and a lot of fun. Students at CC are also extremely appreciative of their teachers. I never remember saying “thank you” to my high school teachers as I left their classrooms, but being on the other side, it sure is nice. Having great conversations about Psychology all morning and afternoon with such thoughtful, insightful, and kind students… that’s a pretty good job!

Why did you decide to teach Psychology?

During my Freshman year of college, I took a seminar entitled “Visions of the Self.” This was my first real experience with Psychology, and it absolutely blew my mind. My professor, Dr. Mark Freeman, was so good at helping us understand the significance of the ideas we were exploring. I think that by the end of that semester I had questioned just about everything that I thought I knew about myself, others, and humanity in general. That was a long time ago, and yet still, my goal as a teacher is to recreate this experience for my students.

How would you summarize your teaching philosophy?

The students here have actually had a large impact on my teaching philosophy. While I have always believed in student participation, here at CC, I have discovered that the less I speak, and the more the students speak, the more learning that takes place in my classroom. Going along with this, a bigger and bigger part of my teaching philosophy involves giving students more freedom in how they express their knowledge. For instance, with project assignments, when I keep restrictions and mandates at a minimum and allow the students to go in their own direction with the material, they do really amazing things. It’s kind of funny, but, whether it be class discussions or projects, I have realized that often the best thing I can do is to get out of my students’ way.