View my teaching sample.
For more than a decade, I have dedicated myself to teaching children and adults of every age, origin, and academic background. Whether in the primary, secondary, or post-secondary settings, I believe that true learning, and therefore true understanding, only arises when the student discovers his or her own way of thinking critically while remaining ready and willing to embrace, negate, synthesize, and appreciate any and all perspectives that may come their way.
Most recently, I have dedicated myself to teaching in communities that are economically, politically, or culturally marginalized. I have led classrooms for students with emotional disabilities, students entangled in the juvenile justice system, and students whose behavioral and academic needs exceed that which can be provided in traditional school settings. Which is to say: nothing surprises me. Except, of course, the beauty that arises when a student learns something new.
I have a B.A. in English from James Madison University and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Columbia University. In my life outside of the classroom (if there is such a thing), I am a father, poet, and performing artist. My writing has appeared widely in national and international journals, and my first book, Letters & Buildings, was published by Subito Press in the fall of 2014.
On teaching: Allow me to be the first to acknowledge: it’s unusual for someone to teach both writing and mathematics. Not only are the two disciplines seemingly disparate in practice, but they are—frequently and quite literally— considered the very poles of the intellectual spectrum. Despite their illusory opposition, however, writing and math are all-too-similar in one crucial way: they can bore your child to tears.
This boredom is not inevitable, nor is it inherent to the disciplines themselves. Nor, for that matter, is it inherent to any one type of student. The frustration and limitations that are felt in writing and math classrooms across the country are, in many cases, the direct result of instruction. Process takes a back seat to product. Inspiration is secondary to memorization. As such, the excitement of self-discovery that accompanies critical thinking and analysis gets lost.
In my classrooms, I hope to engage and excite the students in ways they haven’t foreseen. I want the student who refuses to write to find a way to express her thoughts and ideas. I want the student who fears equations to see and understand the math all around him. I want students to take ownership of material; to make it work for them. As such, I try to create an atmosphere of openness and dialogue in all of my classes, regardless of the subject.
There will be times when I launch into uninterrupted instructional monologues, just as there will be times when I ask student inquiry to drive discussion. Additionally, student work will be discussed and evaluated in class to facilitate the synthesis of course material, while also posing great intellectual potential for new and unforeseen opportunities. No matter the class, it is my hope that students leave our time together feeling challenged, excited, engaged, and empowered.