I take a great deal of pride in my dedication to teaching and mentoring. I have a strong and consistent record of supporting student engagement with course material both inside and outside the classroom. My current teaching and advising commitments build upon a wealth of international teaching experience developed at previous postings at St. Edward's University, the University of Texas, the University of Cambridge, the Aga Khan University in London, Judson High School in Converse, Texas, and The Khabele School (come Headwaters School) in Austin. Through each of these formative, professional engagements I have amassed a strong background of effective instructional techniques leading students to comment favourably on my energy and erudition in the classroom. Likewise, colleagues have praised my positive influence upon the student body. I am a passionate and dedicated teacher with demonstrated productive capabilities, and a strong motivation for student engagement and support. I am committed to the provision of rich, globally-focused instruction to culturally and economically diverse student populations.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: The University of Texas at Austin - Bachelors, History
Graduate Degree: The University of Cambridge - PHD, Middle Eastern Studies
I am an avid reader of non-fiction, especially History, Politics, and International Relations. I also follow current events quite closely and occasionally contribute written commentary to blogs, newspapers, and online journals. I also like to watch and play sports, regularly attend my local gym, and do everything I can to keep up with my amazing son (5) and incredible daughter (2)!
College Level American History
College Political Science
College World History
GED Social Studies
High School English
High School Geography
High School Level American History
High School Level American Literature
High School Political Science
High School World History
IB Global Politics
IB World Religions
Middle School Reading
Middle School Reading Comprehension
Middle School Writing
SAT Subject Tests Prep
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
I have been a teacher in some capacity for more than thirteen years and have taught an incredible range of educational levels and locales from Middle School in Austin, Texas to English as a Foreign Language in Beit Jala, Palestine to Arabic at The University of Cambridge. My personal pursuit of educational qualifications ended recently with the conference of my PhD in Middle Eastern Studies from The University of Cambridge in Cambridge, England. My drive to attain the advertised post, therefore, stems primarily from my lifelong affinity for teaching, and from my desire to give back to the educational system from which I have derived so many positive personal and professional benefits myself. In all of the aforementioned experience, I have been student-centered in my classroom approach aiming to optimize student learning and maximize student potential. My classroom (or online environment) emphasizes a comparative, global perspective in instruction while also attending to interdisciplinary perspectives between various courses and subjects with the goal of providing tangible, meaningful academic and social connections in the lives of my students. In the instruction of language, this goal is achieved chiefly through topic selection and student participation. Student ownership of the classroom environment is very important to student progress and outcomes and whilst I believe it is the exclusive purview of the instructor to establish clear evaluative measures and standards in a given course, the students can contribute to the manner in which learning outcomes are achieved in the class. Once students feel that they are part of the educational environment, the classroom dynamic changes markedly-and for the better. The classroom becomes a cooperative place, one where students and instructor are invested in a common goal for the benefit of all involved. This learner-focused approach has been lauded by my students; I was invited to teach a second year of Arabic at The University of Cambridge thanks to written requests from my first-year student cohort. In addition, my interdisciplinary, global perspective in instruction has proven beneficial to the numerous, highly diverse student groups I have been fortunate enough to instruct. This eclectic grouping includes students ranging from first-year undergraduates at The University of Cambridge to young, business-focused international students of English from continental Europe and East Asia to mature student-professionals from Kazakhstan and other parts of Central Asia. Experience teaching such diverse student-learners has proven invaluable to my approach as a social science teacher and has helped me to hone multiple, effective classroom strategies and pedagogical approaches in higher education. In addition to my extensive experience as a university instructor, my commitment to student learning outcomes also includes an emphasis on experiential learning and doing: taking education out of the classroom and into the real world environment to see what lessons can be learned from practice, not just theory. In my personal experience, the marriage between the theoretical and the practical occurred for me as a student and as an educator in the Middle East. I lived, worked, and studied in the Palestinian West Bank for over a year (non-consecutive) primarily in the towns of Bethlehem, Beit Sahour, and Birzeit. This kind of first-hand expertise in a specific culture area enhanced my awareness as an instructor and provided me with crucial insight into the practice of "doing" outside of a classroom environment. From these experiences onward my goal as an educator became about imparting this experiential learning onto my students. My classroom becomes, therefore, a preparatory academy whereby language, culture, and social practice are married into each lesson.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
During the first tutoring session, I feel it is important to meet and get to know a student, allowing that student and his or her family to feel comfortable with me, both personally and professionally. After introductions, I feel the student should be allowed to dictate the direction of the lesson, either into a serious study session, exam preparation, or lesson completion of their choosing, or a lighter, more introductory task. As in all my tutoring sessions, I feel it important to provide student-centered instruction where the student and his or her family feel ownership and control over the pace, direction, and outcome of the tutorial session(s).
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
Being an independent learner is about combining effective learning strategies with a passion for subject matter and course content. For effective strategies to develop, the student-learner needs to know him/herself well and explore and practice methods of study and work that result in the best possible outcomes. Passion in learning likewise comes from exposure to different subjects, topics, methods, and course. When these two aspects - effective practice and passion in learning - come together, independent student learning is the inevitable result.