Social Studies Teacher
Who Am I?
I’m an American Israeli educator born in beautiful Charleston, South Carolina along the Atlantic Coast. I’ve traveled the world as both an educator and student and have yet to quench my thirst for learning. For my undergraduate degrees I studied Counter Terror Politics and Theories of Religions, believing that to understand a people and culture you must first understand how they see the world. Afterwards I worked in Washington, DC with various non-profit organizations that fought to protect the rights of victims of domestic human trafficking. It was in Washington, DC that I also discovered a love and passion for teaching when I had an opportunity to work with international exchange students from 54 different nations. Since then, I have put all of my energy into becoming the best educator I can possibly be. I’ve had the honor to teach in the United States, Israel, Hungary, and multiple cities and provinces in Vietnam.
My Education Philosophy:
Throughout my teaching career I have come to believe in six principles that guide me as an educator:
First and foremost, gaining knowledge is incidental to learning. If learning is a transformative process in which one becomes able to do something that they were not prior to, then the act of simply gaining knowledge isn’t learning. Knowledge gained is secondary to the skills needed to be able to successfully analyze and disseminate information.
Education should be both mentally and physically engaging. The more students engage with a subject in dynamic and various ways the more they will retain the lesson. This also allows for a large amount of differentiation to reach more students. Activities like simulations, discovery maps, gallery walks, surveys, and various other activities allow students to move about while increasing student participation. This, combined with more traditional forms of pair work and individual research, provides students with a varied and dynamic learning environment which stimulates growth and brain development.
Learning happens everywhere, and from everyone. This includes teachers being open to learn from students as learning is a co-operative experience. It allows students to witness that learning is a lifelong activity in which educators demonstrate to students an openness to learn alongside them. Openness and frankness also reminds educators that we have to listen to our students. This helps to identify key areas in which students and educators alike are struggling, and where educators can provide support to help students achieve their learning goals.
It is imperative to push students to “Always do your best.” As educators, we need to recognize our own limitations, as well as the students’, and try to push the class to achieve the most that everyone can at that moment. It also means teaching the students that their “best” is an always fluctuating marker that can change from day to day. This is key to making students feel comfortable in participating in class activities and feel comfortable with having incorrect answers. When students understand this concept, that always doing their best is a fluctuating marker, it removes the false stigma that having a wrong answer is an indication of their intelligence level or that is it a critique of their worth as a student. This, in turn, leads to students feeling comfortable taking risks.
All of these things together culminate in the truest aim of teaching is to create active lifelong learners. If a student’s education ends at the property line of the school, then we as educators have failed to prepare them for the rest of their lives. An educator’s role is to ensure that students have the tools necessary to meet, adapt, and overcome any obstacles that they may come across in their daily lives. Thus, having taught them the skills necessary to begin to successfully navigate the world, students are primed to continue active learning into the rest of their life.
My Priority at the American School (TAS)
I have had my hiking boots for 19 years. They have taken me through 4 continents, 14 mountain ranges, and nearly every terrain possible.