Poet Galway Kinnell espoused that it is "sometimes... necessary to reteach a thing its loveliness." In this poem, "Saint Francis and the Sow," we learn that everyone grows, and sometimes we have a direct hand in that growth. Teaching, to me, is that guiding hand. I believe that teaching, whether it be to one student or 200, is the most important task in all of human history; therefore, education and knowledge are the most noble pursuits in that history. If you are here, it means that you have accepted that creed, and you've already begun the journey.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: University of Arizona - Bachelors, Creative Writing
GRE Quantitative: 138
GRE Verbal: 165
Reading, Writing, Watching movies, Cultural critiques, debunking (and reaffirming) American mythology
College Application Essays
College Level American Literature
High School English
High School Level American Literature
High School Writing
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
My teaching philosophy revolves around engagement. In order to learn, we must be engaged with what we are learning, and so finding topics, activities, and lessons that engage my students and their interests is my goal for everything I teach.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
First, we will get to know each other. What do they believe their strengths and weaknesses to be? I may ask them entry-level questions on the topic we are discussing to gauge where they are and where they may need help.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
Helping students become self-motivated is important. In order to help them get to that point, we as teachers need to help them find their sense of curiosity and wonder. Sometimes we may need to manufacture this. Sometimes we may need to re-shape a topic to fit their interests. As teachers, we can also help students develop and use the tools to become lifelong learners. This comes through practice.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
I am a big fan of reframing concepts. If it looks foreign to us in one frame, it might look familiar in another frame. For instance, if a student struggles to understand the difference between the definition of symbol and metaphor, I might try giving examples from books, movies, music, or television that they do understand. Then we might practice recognizing the difference, and from there they can give me the definition.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
What I might do is to give them a frame from which to look at the text. With this guiding reference, we can then work together to make the pieces fit. There are also students that thrive once you give them the keys to a text (metaphors, symbols, allusions, etc.) and show them how they connect. On the most basic level, though, sitting with students and reading with them is one of the most effective methods to increase comprehension.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
Most often, my students struggle with reading. They don't want to do it. When this happens, I bring them to the end of a particular story and read the end to them. In doing so, they are more likely to become invested in how the story got to that point. When they feel like they've put the pieces together themselves (even if you showed them the end of the maze), they become much more engaged. And again, much of student excitement is about re-framing the subject in something they are interested in. English is one of the most flexible subjects.