Searching for an international teaching job as an English or Theory of Knowledge teacher
I am a teacher, curriculum writer, underground magazine writer, and CEO....but all of that information can easily be seen on a resume.
It's not who I am; it's what I do.
Who I really am and what I really strive for is transcendence--transcendence of ideas, preconceived notions, and the Ego. And for me, the only way to really reach such transcendence is by awakening one's own genius, and what I do allows me to achieve just that.
Leaders in this nation take various forms, though we tend to recognize only the ostentatious ones—those who have empowering titles and voices that lend them authority and respect. But beyond these loud voices exists another type of leader. These leaders oftentimes go unnoticed because they take a more quiet form—one that allows them to diligently and almost poetically use their energy to fill emptiness, to complete broken or forgotten spaces, to transcend the mundane.
In his preface to Leaves of Grass, Walt Whitman coins these hidden leaders as the poets . According to Whitman, unlike other leaders, poets quietly but powerfully inspire people. They live among the common people where they subtly can exert their influence without asking anything in return; they tacitly breathe into anything thought small and dilate it with grandeur; they view life through the soul and emotions rather than just the facts . These leaders have the ability to awaken our geniuses because they are a part of us; they help us understand ourselves and the world around us.
I cannot help but parallel teachers to this poet-leader that Whitman describes. Like poets, teachers have this ability to drag students out of their coffins of apathy, confusion, and boredom, and stand them on their feet again—to inspire them through whatever means. They dedicate their time to searching for new truths and rendering them accessible to students, colleagues, and families; they see life differently—holistically and artistically—and want to share this view with everyone, especially their students. And oftentimes, they go unnoticed but continue to use their talents because they want to benefit others. In this sense, teachers are the poets, and this is the type of teacher leader I am and want to continue to be.
My goal as a teacher, a writer, and a leader is to give students and others the opportunities to awaken their geniuses--to help them transcend--by providing them with “an experience,” something John Dewey believes necessary for learning . According to Dewey, “an experience” occurs when time flows seamlessly, purposefully, and without detriment. Because life flows naturally like an experience, our classrooms should, too . By teaching with theory in mind, I seek to allow students to take control of their own learning while engaging in the highest level of thinking—creativity. This approach hopefully can provide students with the learning experience they deserve.
This transcendence, or wakening of one's genius, is what I want to keep doing not only for myself, but also for my students. Through learning--seeing the world, respecting other cultures, and education--a person can transcend and find her own sense of self while respecting others. That's what life is about.
 Whitman, W. (1855). “Preface to Leaves of Grass.” N. Hawthorne. (2007). The Norton Anthology of American Literature. (7th ed. ed., Vol. B). New York: W W Norton & Company Inc. Whitman, 1855. Dewey, J. (1980). “Having an experience.” Art as experience. (1st ed.). New York: Perigee Books. Dewey, 1980.
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Colegio Americano de Quito, Quito, Ecuador: 2014-2018
Theory of Knowledge Teacher, IB Diploma Programme, 11th-12th grades: 2016-2018
After teaching IB MYP Language and Literature for two years, I became a Theory of Knowledge teacher in the Diploma Programme, where I have been able to expand my curriculum writing and deepen my knowledge in all subject areas.
As a TOK teacher, I have 140 students, half of them juniors and the other half seniors. I develop my own curriculum, aligning the lessons and units with the DP Programme and TOK standards. Most units are project-based learning, allowing students to investigate their own Knowledge Questions and apply their learning to other subjects and the world. Many students are also DP candidates, so I work closely with these students to ensure success on the TOK presentation and essay.
Along with TOK, I have 4 extended essay students, whom I tutor. Additionally, I serve as part of the National Honor Society Committee, where I help choose which students qualify for NHS, plan events, and make important decisions regarding the program.
English Language and Literature Teacher, IB Middle Years Programme, 9th grade: 2014-2016
Teaching in the IB MYP, I was able to have the opportunity to create my own units that align with the IB standards. The IB curriculum has a global focus that allows students to learn necessary skills in each subject area while making connections to the global world, which is important for developing the IB Learner Profile. Teaching with the MYP IB standards in mind, I was able to construct unique, engaging curriculum that reflects project-based learning projects while giving students the foundations they need to read and write in English. With such lessons, students were challenged to not just absorb information, but also to think: to be analytical, insightful, and creative.
I was also expected to tutor two personal project students per year and students in the Writing Center twice a week, and this was probably one of my favorite parts of teaching at this school. At the Writing Center, students from all grade levels (7-12) attended, and I was able to tutor them 1-1.
Berkner Stem academy, Dallas, texas: 2012-2014
English Language Arts Teacher, Pre-AP, 9th grade
For my first two years of teaching, I taught ninth grade students English at a school within a school. I taught 120 students from multiple socioeconomic, cultural, and racial backgrounds.
My responsibilities as a ninth grade STEM English teacher were I had to create two project-based learning units per semester, two for each of the preps that I taught. Additionally, I had after-school tutoring at least three times a week, and daily STEM English teacher professional learning community (PLC) meetings where we vertically aligned our curriculum, discussed grading tactics, developed projects together, and gave feedback to projects created. These PLCs alone helped me become a better teacher for my students and become a better curriculum writer.
Though I had many STEM responsibilities, I also had responsibilities as an English 1 teacher at our big school--Berkner--and as a teacher for the state of Texas. With the English I curriculum, I had to provide students with the tools and confidence they need to pass their English 1 State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness (STAAR) end-of-course exam. I succeeded this goal, as 90% of my students passed on the first try, which was high above the state average of a 65% pass-rate.
Lord of the Flies: symbolism and the human condition
Statement of Inquiry: In Lord of the Flies, William Golding uses symbolism to explore the human condition.
MYP/UBD Unit Planner: Unit 2- Lord of the Flies (1).pdf
All Materials for Lord of the Flies unit: all materials
Literary Essay: After reading and analyzing the novel, students will write an essay question on the statement of inquiry: How does William Golding use symbolism to explore the human condition?
Symbol Book: to prepare students for the literary essay, as they are reading the book, they will turn in a symbol. Like the essay, the symbol book is focused on the statement of inquiry: how does Golding use symbolism to explore the human condition? Criteria: by the end of 4 weeks, students will have a symbol book that includes: 4 different symbols in the book. On a piece of computer paper, students will creatively draw the symbol (perceptively) and include its name and what it symbolizes; on the back of each symbol, students will include at least 3 quotations from the book of that quotation. Underneath each quotation, students will analyze how the symbol is symbolic in the quotation; they will use an acronym--T.A.P.E.S.--to help them do this. They will turn in the symbol book each week (1 new drawing and 3 new quotations/analyses each week) so as to give students feedback on their writing and analytical skills. They will use this symbol book to help them write their essay.
Quizzes: After every 3-4 chapters, students will have a quiz on the study guides provided of those chapters.
Socratic Discussion: There will be a Socratic discussion midway through the book and at the end.
1. Literary Essay: FinalEssayLOTFUnit2 (3).docx
2. Symbol Books: SymbolBookAssignment.docx
3. Socratic Discussions: Discussion Rubric.docx
Fahrenheit 451: Censorship and Zines
Statement of Inquiry: In his book Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury uses genre, themes, and language to combat censorship and reveal the social and political problems that continue to plague our world today.
MYP/UBD Unit Planner: Fahrenheit 451 Unit Planner
All Materials for Fahrenheit 451: all materials
Zines: While reading the book, students are divided into small groups to work on zines, underground magazines on taboo topics that are created by hand and distributed throughout a community. Students choose taboo topics--topics that need to be heard and are oftentimes censored by society for one reason or another--write articles and design the magazine to distribute around their community.
Lit Circle Groups: As students read each section of the book, they have a study guide and have "roles" in their lit circle groups. After each section, they discuss the book with their groups, go over study guides, and create profound questions for Socratic discussion. This study group occurs three times.
Socratic Discussion: Before quizzes, students have a class Socratic discussion based on the big-picture questions they and their lit circle groups have created. They must bring in evidence from the book and real-world to support their answers in the discussion. This discussion occurs three times.
Quizzes: A short quiz is given after each section.
1. Group Zine: Rubric for Entire Zine
2. Individual Article Zine: Zine column rubric
3. Lit Circles: Lit Circle Rubric
4. Harkness/Socratic Discussions: Discussion documents and rubric
Short Stories: Environmental/human rights and PSAs
Statement of Inquiry: Students can recognize the importance of our common humanity through analyzing the relationships between characters and cultures in literature, researching contemporary human(/environmental righst violations, and creating a public service announcement.
MYP/UBD Unit Planner: Environmental/Human Rights Planner
All Materials for Environmental/Human Rights unit: all materials
PSA: After reading short stories and analyzing public service announcements, students will create their own PSA--in commercial (video), advertisement (poster), or audio format--on a current human/environmental right issue in their community. They must consider their own author's purpose, tools, tone, and audience, and write a rationale of their process.
Short stories/quizzes: Students will read short stories on environmental/human rights issues, analyzing author's purpose, tools, tone, and audience. They will have quizzes on short stories and the tools we discussed.
Public Service Announcements: Students will watch videos and look at advertisements that are PSAs; they will analyze again author's purpose, tools, tone, and audience.
1. Public Service Announcements: Rubric PSA
2. Rationales: Rationales Rubric
3.Weekly Reflection: Weekly Reflection Rubric
1. Bullying in high school as their dilemma in the world.
2. Capital Punishment
Romeo and Juliet: Video Explication Project
Statement of Inquiry: In Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare uses language to "hack the system" and address themes that transcend time.
MYP/UBD Unit Planner: Romeo and Juliet Unit Planner
All Materials for Romeo and Juliet unit: all materials
Video Explication Project : Students will choose a passage from Romeo and Juliet that uses complex language and touches on a theme that's still relevant today. They will create a video that reflects the tone, language, and imagery of the passage, and one that projects the passage's theme and message.
Journals : As students read and watch Romeo and Juliet, they will focus on the language of the text and the tools of the director, analyzing the themes and message that each reveals. This analysis will help them prepare for their video explication project.
Sonnet writing , monologue writing: Students will mimic the style of writing in sections of the play, writing their own sonnet on "love" and monologue on what brings them fear.
1. Video Explication Project: Video Explication Rubric
2. Sonnet: Sonnet Rubric
3.Journals: Journal Rubrics
English language arts
Indigenous Knowledge Systems
Driving Question: Why is cultural diversity vital for the preservation of mankind?
DP/UBD Unit Planner: Indigenous Knowledge Systems Unit Planner
All Materials for Indigenous Knowledge Systems Unit: all materials
Presentation on Indigenous Tribe: Students will choose different indigenous tribes across the world, researching the TOK knowledge framework on their chosen tribe (see attached instructions) and creating a knowledge question they'll explore and answer in the presentation.
Artistic Representation: After researching on their tribe and attempting to answer their KQ, students will symbolically illustrate--through artwork, song, video, short story, etc.--the answer to their KQ, one "truth" that applies to their tribe or all of humanity. Essentially, their piece should look at cultural diversity and why it's important for us to celebrate it (Statement of Inquiry)
Reflection: After the presentation, students will reflect on their own assumptions based on their knowledge of themselves and their knowledge of their indigenous tribe. They will also answer their KQ and the statement of inquiry: why is cultural diversity so vital for the preservation of mankind?
Who Am I Essay : Who am I? Identity Wheel project. Before starting the unit, students will fill out an identity wheel to discover their place in society, what their privilege is, and how oftentimes, our privileged positions give us "power" over others. But is this truly who we are? Then students will write a short essay that describes who they are outside of the superficial, social labels.
Socratic Discussions: Discussions on Ishmael, Warsan Shire's "Girls," Tony Hoagland's "America," and RuPaul's interview.
Driving Question: To what extent do ethics influence one's morals and behaviors?
DP/UBD Unit Planner: Ethics
All Materials for Ethics Unit: all materials
Celebrity Symposium: After researching and presenting the ethical theories, students will choose one famous person from different areas of knowledge. They will conduct research on this person, considering their person's beliefs, ethics, morals, and looking at at least 1 RLS that illustrates the ethical theory that their person's beliefs best match. During the discussion, students will be presented with 3-5 RLS and have to respond to these RLS's as if they were their character, using their theory and life experiences as evidence to back up their thinking.
Research on Ethical Theory: Students will be assigned different ethical theories. They'll have to conduct research using the Knowledge Framework for Ethics, providing detailed research for their theory. After they have completed these questions and research, they'll be put into small groups, where they'll present to their group mates about their theory. Group members will take notes.
Discussion on controversial morals/ethics: Before diving into researching ethical theories, students will be presented controversial topics and have to decide what their morals are in relation to those topics. Then in a Socratic discussion, we will discuss these topics; they need evidence to support their thinking.
WOKs and Logical Fallacies
Driving Question: To what extent do we obtain knowledge and can trust the knowledge we obtain?
DP/UBD Unit Planner: WOKs and Logical Fallacies unit
Ways of Knowing Infographics: In groups of two, students will explore and study one WOK (each WOK must be chosen in the class). They will research the WOK, answering questions about its definition, benefits, limitations, the way their WOK works in 4 AOKs, and more. Then based on the information they gathered, they'll create an appealing infographic and present the information to the class. Everyone will need to take notes on all WOKs.
Charts on Logical Fallacies: Logical fallacies are a big component in our daily lives; we use them without realizing it. Students will be given 20 of the most common logical fallacies and, individually, will research the fallacies and fill out a chart that glosses over the fallacy's definition, example, personal example, and links to the other WOKs.
Discussion and analysis: Students will work in small groups to watch 6 commercials and identify the logical fallacies and WOKs present in the commercial. They will also consider the message, purpose, audience, etc. Then as a class, we will discuss the commercials through a critical lens--what the commercials did and how their message was conveyed.
Skits and Commercials: after studying the ways of knowing and logical fallacies, students will create their own example via a commercial, advertisement, or skit that employs the WOKs and logical fallacies. Each group will need to create a script that includes After presenting, the class will need to try to guess which logical fallacies the group used.
STUDENT EXAMPLES OF SKITS/COMMERCIALS:
Script Script Script
theory of knowledge
For the last 6 years, every unit I have taught I created myself. I have developed curriculum for English Language Arts and Theory of Knowledge. In addition, I have served as a curriculum and project-based learning coach for teachers in the USA, specifically in Texas and North Carolina. Below are a few sample units that I have created.