Krista McKay teaches courses in rhetoric and composition and professional writing.
I’d have to say that I consider myself more of a coach than a teacher. Sure, I teach strategies of sound rhetoric and communication, but my goal is to coach each student toward getting the best results possible from his or her abilities.
I believe in fostering a community of writers where collaborative learning takes place. From the very first day of class, I emphasize how we will be working together to become more critical readers of our own writing and the writing of others (both inside and outside of the classroom). Through small group activities and classroom round table discussions, we are able to draw the best from each other in our quest to grow our knowledge. I believe that each student has a vital role in the dynamics of the classroom, and that learning takes place when the student is able to discover information on his or her own.
I believe that writing is the most necessary skill for a rewarding life experience, not only in its practical applications and as a means of selfexpression, but also as a form of agency. If I did not feel this way passionately, I could not present it to my students with a sense of relevancy and urgency that allows them to recognize its value and importance in a democratic society. My hope is that I have given my students the tools to recognize the skills they possess and the power to call on them when needed.
Outside of being a professor, what do you do for fun and/or relaxation?
I enjoy spending time with my family: a husband, two teenage daughters, and a black Labrador retriever named Lola. I enjoy hiking, photography, and cooking when I am able. Of course, I love reading a good book and mourn the ending like the loss of a good friend.
What are your expectations of students?
I strive to create an atmosphere of curiosity in my classroom. I expect each student to come to class ready to actively engage in the day’s lesson – eager to learn and prepared to participate. I also expect students to put for an honest effort regardless of the task. In return, students can expect thoughtful instruction and an honest evaluation of their work.