Fulbright English Teaching Assistant

I taught English to three hundred middle schoolers as a Fulbright ETA in Naju, South Korea from 2018 to 2020. In my classes, I used subject matter that I knew my students found interesting as a vehicle for complex discussions about critical thinking and humanist values. In one lesson, we considered the possibility of extraterrestrial life, weighing the evidence for and against. What does it mean to believe in something? Are there times when it’s reasonable to believe in something even though you can’t see or touch it yourself? In another class, the students received an imaginary pool of money and delivered pitches about how they’d use it to improve their own lives, help those in their community, and solve global problems.

I spent my free time teaching myself statistics and Python. I used responsible data-analysis techniques to make sense of student surveys and grades, and presented about how other ELL teachers can use quantitative data to better understand their students.

My goal is to make every lesson upbeat, challenging, and relevant. Get in touch if you’d like samples of my teaching materials.

Elementary Assembly Programs with Clint Blakely

Musical collaborator, teaching partner, and classmate Clint Blakely and I received a Resident Outreach Ensemble grant from the Thornton Community Engagement Programs, two years in a row, to present our music assemblies in Los Angeles elementary and middle schools. See below for a description of our award-winning programs and email me if you’d be interested in hosting us at your school.

December 32nd (Spring 2018). Beginning with summer surfin’ in LA, this program takes students on a journey around the world: How do songs from diverse cultures and places associate different emotions with the changing seasons? We hear a Jewish band from New England’s sarcastic take on “Christmas in LA,” a heartfelt Korean ballad about wishing the year would never end, and a picturesque Portuguese piece heralding the arrival of the spring rains by listing the objects that come washing down from the gutters.

Songwriting through Interactive Improvisation (Spring 2017). We don the characters of two frustrated elementary students who can’t manage to make sense of their homework. As the audience helps us improvise songs about our life in school, we discover that music is a lot like a hamburger: with the right ingredients cooked the right way, it’s not very hard to prepare a song anyone can enjoy! This assembly introduces students to music fundamentals, improvisation, and topic-based songwriting.

The Greater Seattle Bureau of Fearless Ideas

I was a programs intern at Seattle’s least daunted creative-writing tutoring center in the summer of 2017. In addition to leading a drama club during the last few months of BFI’s after-school tutoring program and helping publish student-authored works, I co-led a journalism workshop for second-through-fourth-grade students. Over two days in July, our students interviewed business owners and residents about Greenwood’s recovery from the 2016 gas explosion. Then, they worked with volunteers to write and illustrate the second-ever issue of BFI’s Fearless Times.