I am a language, literature, and writing teacher who has worked with a diverse range of student populations in a variety of cultural, linguistic, and geographical contexts since 2004. Below is an outline of some of my experience in teaching, developing curriculum, and leading workshops for other teachers over the past 16 years. I’ve included a few links to sample original materials. If you are a teacher who would like to use any of these materials, feel free, but please do credit me!
No matter what or whom I’m teaching, I want to help my students develop the intellectual confidence and the empathic curiosity required to engage with the worlds in and around them both openly and critically. I work towards that goal by creating class communities based on the tenets of democracy, inclusivity, and collaboration. Myths around the teacher as the only meaningful source of understanding are broken down and each person is affirmed as a thinker and citizen who has the right to belong and something valuable to contribute. In expanding our notions of what “counts” as text and as language, we expand our notions of what, and who, counts as human. In learning to apprehend, if not always fully comprehend, another’s identity, history, culture, experience, values, and forms of expression, we learn to explore and interrogate our own. Ultimately, I hope, my students develop a sense of joy and purpose in education as “a process of living, not a preparation for future living,” in John Dewey’s words; an appreciation of the complexity and interconnectedness of all of our lives; and conviction in their own voice as a powerful tool in the pursuit of knowledge and justice, in the classroom and beyond.
The approaches I find crucial in working towards these goals include:
- modeling passion, engagement, deep thinking, and radical love
- collaborative and student-driven structures, characterized by constant choice and responsiveness to students’ needs and interests
- place-based, community-engaged learning
- rigorous dialogue across difference
- inclusivity, universal design, and trauma-informed pedagogy (TIP). Here is a document in which I outline my understanding of TIP, my core mindsets, and some sample practices related to each mindset.
Undergraduate Teaching at UT-Austin
As Assistant Instructor/instructor of record:
SPN 611D: Second-Year Spanish II, Department of Spanish and Portuguese (Fall 2018, Spring 2019) (hybrid online/FTF course). Average instructor rating based on student evaluations: 5/5.
Most recent student evaluations with qualitative comments: HERE
SPN 601D: First-Year Spanish I, Department of Spanish and Portuguese (Fall 2017, Spring 2018). Average instructor rating based on student evaluations: 4.8/5.
As Teaching Assistant:
Before I earned my Master’s degree, I worked as a TA for these writing-intensive first-year Signature Courses on special topics in World Literature. I was asked to serve as Lead TA during the second year; as Lead TA, I managed logistics and facilitated collaborative teaching practices among a group of 8 TAs. Average TA rating based on student evaluations: 4.8/5.
UGS 303: Russian Sci-Fi (Spring 2016)
UGS 303: Modernity, Anxiety, and the Art of the Uncanny (Spring 2015, Fall 2015)
UGS 303: The Pursuit of Happiness (Fall 2014)
Workshops & Curriculum Development at UT-Austin
Difficult Dialogues Program at the UT Humanities Institute
As Difficult Dialogues Program Coordinator, I develop pedagogical resources, curriculum, and trainings to support interdisciplinary faculty affiliates in incorporating dialogue on sensitive and controversial topics in both FTF and online classrooms. I also co-facilitate a bimonthly Difficult Dialogues faculty learning community (Fall 2019-present).
I developed and taught a 6-hour synchronous online training on facilitating dialogue for undergraduate peer dialogue facilitators engaging first-year students on topics like Race, Power and Injustice; Gender, Identity, and Sexuality; and Mental Health and Resilience. I currently facilitate a biweekly undergraduate facilitator learning community (summer 2020-present).
Comments from participants: “Everything was so engaging and the session did not feel like 3 hours at all!” * “It was incredibly helpful and engaging.” * “I’ve done a handful of similar training sessions and this one was by far the most informative and welcoming one I’ve taken part in! I feel like I learned a lot.” * “I found the way you were modeling extremely useful as I begin to think about how I will adapt these best practices of dialogue. I really liked how there was a diversity of ways to remain engaged.”
K-12 English Language Arts in U.S. Public Schools
IDEA College Preparatory San Benito, San Benito, TX
10th grade English Language Arts (Fall 2012, Spring 2013). Appointed as 10th Grade Team Leader. As Team Leader, I served as the faculty-administration liaison and the student-faculty liaison; the lead organizer and head of fundraising for a 3-day overnight field lesson to San Antonio to visit colleges; and the grade-level point person for student discipline issues and parent contact/community engagement.
Sample materials: “Voice of the Vanquished” Summative Assessment group project for Things Fall Apart unit * Class quilt square assignment * Persuasive essay support quick help * “School’s Out” student-directed lesson * Open-ended response analysis
9th grade English Language Arts (Fall 2011, Spring 2012). Nominated for Teacher of the Year. Students earned highest scores in the district on state Writing test.
Sample materials: All Socratic Seminars for The Joy Luck Club unit * Introduction to “What-Why-So What” approach to close reading/analytical writing + scaffolded practice * Letter to a 5th Grader assignment * Introduction to Tim Burton unit Gallery Walk * Annotated bibliography student-directed lesson
Reading Intervention (Fall 2011, Spring 2012, Fall 2012)
ACT Verbal Test Preparation (Spring 2013)
Koliganek School, Koliganek, AK
I served as the secondary English Language Arts teacher (and thus ELA Department Head) for this K-12 school in a Yupik Native Alaskan village off the road system in southwestern Alaska. Classrooms were combined age and grade level, demanding careful planning for differentiated instruction and appropriate scaffolding of concepts. I implemented a reading improvement system for behind-level middle schoolers that assessed and monitored student growth around key literacy skills like vocabulary recognition, fluency, and comprehension using the running records system.
6th-8th grade English Language Arts. Combined level/age (Fall 2013)
9th-10th grade English Language Arts. Combined level/age (Fall 2013)
Sample materials: Horror Story writing packet
11th-12th grade English Language Arts. Combined level/age (Fall 2013)
Sample materials: Food sources of Koliganek subsistence instruction guide
Austin Bat Cave, K-12 Writing, Austin, Texas
In my work as a volunteer with this nonprofit offering writing programs for local K-12 students, I develop materials and teach one-time and long-term writing workshops for underserved Austin-area students. Last year, I provided instructional support on writing once a week in a bilingual 4th grade classroom. This past summer, I developed at-home creative writing activities during the COVID-19 pandemic. I’m working in Fall 2020 and Spring 2021 on teaching a college essay writing workshop available to students at 13 schools across 7 districts in Central Texas (in partnership with Communities in Schools as well as ABC). In collaboration with UT undergraduates, I am creating an open-access college essay writing guide directed at first-generation, low-income, and otherwise underserved students. (Spring 2019-present)
Sample materials: “A Story Without Words: 3 Writing Activities for PreK-5th graders”
Reading Rock Stars, Texas Book Festival, K-6 Literacy, Austin, Texas
As a volunteer with this nonprofit literacy organization, which distributes free books and arranges author visits in Title I elementary schools across the state, I developed reading curriculum aligned to Texas state standards (TEKS) for preK-5 students (Fall 2018, Spring 2019). As a community-based learning project, my Spanish 611D students partnered with RRS and translated several books from English into Spanish so that these books could be used in bilingual Texas classrooms.
Canyonlands National Park, K-12 Environmental Studies, Moab, UT
As a Teacher-Ranger-Teacher selected to serve in Summer 2012 at Canyonlands National Park, I developed educational materials and interacted as an interpretive ranger with visitors of all ages. Upon returning to my Title I high school campus, I worked to connect my 10th grade ELA students to the resources and history of the NPS through initiatives such as a weeklong series of outdoor and environmentally-focused lessons during Earth Week.
International Scholars Program, IDEA College Preparatory San Benito
While teaching at IDEA College Prep-San Benito, I founded, developed, coordinated, and led the school’s first-ever study abroad program: a yearlong extracurricular seminar on cultural perspectives culminating in a ten-day trip to Monteverde, Costa Rica with 11 tenth-grade students. Besides reading and discussing texts on immigration, globalization, and cultural exchange, my students exchanged letters throughout the year with pen pals in Costa Rica as well as college graduates with study abroad experience from all over the U.S. They also undertook a massive fundraising effort. Once in Costa Rica, they stayed with local host families, attended classes with their pen pals, toured local sites like a shade-grown coffee farms and a cloud forest preserve, and completed sustainability-focused service projects such as cleaning out and painting a composting shed and planting a hillside with tree saplings. In partnership with The Cloud Forest School/Centro de Educación Creativa (Spring 2013).
Workshops for Teachers
Professional Development Workshops for Teachers (Teach for America, Rio Grande Valley region, Texas)
I was invited by Teach for America, RGV Region, to design and conduct a few different workshops for K-12 teachers based on identified strengths:
Teaching With Love and Logic (Positive Classroom Management for K-12 Teachers) (Spring 2013, a four-session course)
Dialogue-Based Pedagogy: Socratic Seminars (Spring 2013, one session)
Sample materials: Quick Guide for Teachers
Vocabulary Instruction: 3-point Sentences (Fall 2012, one session)
I became TESOL (Teacher of English to Speakers of Other Languages) certified in 2004. Since then, I have taught ESL, developed ESL curriculum, and trained other teachers in the following contexts:
HOFT Institute, Austin, Texas
At this language institute, I taught ESL to a culturally, ethnically, and linguistically diverse group of adult learners: my students ranged in age from 18 to 50+ and came from a variety of countries in Asia, Latin America, Africa, Europe and the Middle East. I taught and contributed curriculum resources in the following courses:
Listening and Speaking Level 2 (Fall 2019). Sample materials: * First-day activity: Character introductions in parts * Summative final exam
Futuro Latino Learning Center, Baltimore, MD
At Goucher College, I co-founded the Futuro Latino Learning Center (now in its second decade of operation!) on campus along with faculty leaders and AmeriCorps members. Besides teaching beginners-level ESL, I also contributed curriculum for 3 levels, wrote an English teaching and grammar guide, and conducted trainings for undergraduate student volunteers. I taught the following courses:
Adult Beginner’s ESL (Fall 2010, Spring 2011)
Espacio Educación Bilingual Children’s Program (Fall 2010)
Monteverde Institute, Monteverde, Costa Rica
I wrote a complete 12-week, 24-class basic course of English for the Monteverde Institute in Monteverde, Costa Rica, in 2009. This course included a full scope and sequence for four levels (elementary, intermediate, intermediate advanced, and advanced), summative exams for each level, an oral placement exam, and an ESL Teachers Orientation.
Ayutthaya Public High School, Ayutthaya, Thailand
Intermediate ESL for 11th grade, classes of 40-50 students (Spring 2006)
Tai Yang Elementary School, Shenyang, China
Low-Intermediate ESL for 2nd and 3rd grades, classes of 30-40 students (Spring 2005)
ALIFA Sushan English Language Center, Shenyang, China
Beginner’s ESL for children age 4-6, 8 classes of 20-30 students per week (Fall 2004, Spring 2005)
Low-Intermediate ESL for children 6-10, 8 classes of 20-30 students per week (Fall 2004, Spring 2005)
Upper-Intermediate ESL for children 8-14, 8 classes of 20-30 students per week (Fall 2004, Spring 2005)
Advanced ESL for children 14-18, 8 classes of 20-30 students per week (Fall 2004, Spring 2005)