WTMC English Instructor/BASE advisor
Instructor for 14 years
Q: What attracted you to WTMC/why did you want to teach here?
A: Well, my brother was a student here when the job opened and he had a remarkable experience. He was not having an easy time at his traditional high school. He’s a really creative guy and a little different from the crowd, so he found it hard to be in a big mainstream high school. So I was really excited, as I was finishing my teaching degree, to see the success he was having and that he was excited about school, about making things, learning different software, so I was intrigued. Then he mentioned there was an opening, so that’s how I found out about the school.
Q: What is the best place you’ve ever traveled and why?
A: Well, I’ve been lucky to have traveled a number of places. I liked Oxford an awful lot. I was a student there for a summer. It was just a really beautiful and enriching experienced to be there. It was a little like going to Hogwarts, you know.
Q: What interesting books have you read lately?
A: Right now I’m reading Annie Dillard’s “Pilgrim at Tinker Creek,” and it’s this really interesting mix of writing about the natural world and also questioning one’s philosophical disposition toward the world. It’s gorgeously written, so I’m really enjoying that.
Q: What has been the most exciting experience of your life?
A: Almost drowning in a tributary of the Amazon in 2000. I was river kayaking down a canyon and I got trapped between some rocks briefly and thought that was most certainly going to be my watery grave. I managed to extricate myself, but that was an interesting experience.
Q: What is your advice for a student’s success in college?
A: I think the most important thing is to have a reason to be in college. Have goals. If you’ve got a why, you can deal with almost any how, any instructor, any graduation requirement. But also some of those practical skills like time management, ability to prioritize, willingness to be responsible for things that really aren’t your fault and working it out, I think those are really important.
Q: What is the most satisfying part of your job?
A: The most satisfying and sometimes hardest part of being a WTMC instructor is the BASE advisor thing. Teaching English is easy compared to helping people manage that complex matrix of home and social life and academics and health. BASE cuts across a lot of things, but it’s absolutely the most satisfying thing to see you guys graduate and persevere, even though it can be pretty daunting.
Q: What is your favorite meal and why?
A: Now that’s interesting. Lately, I’ve been into making my own sweet potato fries, but my favorite meal, I don’t know. I mean I’m pretty into bread. Maybe some fresh sourdough, sliced thickly, with maybe an egg and some cheese, under the broiler, then maybe with some vegetable like asparagus.
Q: What is the best movie you’ve seen?
A: I really like “The Dark Crystal.” It’s a Jim Henson movie, but it’s really kinda scary and interesting. It’s with puppets. Also, “Amelie,” a French movie. Just beautifully put together. It’s among my favorites of all time.
Q: What famous figure, living or dead, would you want to meet and why?
A: Oh I’d love to hang out with Pablo Neruda. He’s my first choice. It’d be entertaining and enjoyable, and also thoughtful and deep. I miss my Chilean friends, so it’d be nice.
Q: What have you heard in the news lately that most concerns you?
A: I think just being here teaching a number of students whose families come from overseas, the thing about the Syrian crisis has been deeply concerning to me, not just because of the suffering of the people involved but also because of how we sometimes react or don’t react.