Back in the USA
After years of growing into my own educational philosophy and professional practice I decided to return home. While transitioning back I had the unique opportunity to move to Washington DC and homeschool two former students for a 10-week period. I designed an integrated curriculum which facilitated student-directed learning through inquiry. We transformed the city into our classroom with daily excursions to museums, parks, plays, pop-up spaces, and art galleries. This experience rekindled a fire ignited during my formative years. So, here I am presently, ready to revolutionze the world one human, one problem, one question, one discovery at a time!
In the spring of 2013 friends joked they would capture me and take me to Casablanca with them. That August roaming Mediterranean tortoises and two fluffy rabbits greeted me at the blue gate of the International School of Morocco. For the next four years I taught a Year1/Year 2 combined class. My students represented countries from all over the world. It was here that I practiced teaching students HOW to learn as opposed to WHAT to learn. This was demonstrated in their integration of inquiry, knowledge, and technology to produce museums, movies, plays, and art exhibits. Additionally I co-directed several musical productions, served on accrediting teams, and developed curriculum.
Perhaps it was the smell of grilled lamb and tabouli along with the thick accent of my great-grandmother that pulled me toward the Middle East. It was in Alexandria, at Schutz American School, that I began to take risks, push boundaries, and create my own understanding of teaching. With my kindergarteners we explored right/wrong, good/bad, and how perspective and empathy affects our moral spectrum. The students were viewed as artists, storytellers, cooks, engineers, and scientists. I encouraged learning through creative play and thoughtful discussion. As post-revolution Egypt evolved so did the children; at their suggestion they dipped their thumbs in purple paint, conducting their own democratic election.
From the moment my dad connected the video recorder to the TV, I became a star. My mother rehearsed monologues with me until I was accepted into the Conservatory of Performing Arts at Point Park University. In my early twenties I performed in various projects around the city. Then one day, my world changed forever. I was handed the script “My Name is Rachel Corrie.” Memorizing 90 minutes of a one-woman show defines you; I found that I could use my art to encourage dialogue. I acted, directed, and produced the one-woman show across 7 states. I ventured to Palestine and then returned to perform, lead discussion panels, and offer acting workshops.