My background in teaching is varied; I have experience as an instructor, a teaching assistant, and most recently a tour guide at the Montreal Holocaust Memorial Museum. In general, my teaching emphasizes the application of history to students’ lived experiences, and I incorporate artworks, films, television shows, and social media memes into our discussions on historical events.
For example, in my course Western Thought from 1600, I used the novel All Quiet on the Western Front to help students understand World War I, with the goal of increasing their awareness about the psychological effects of warfare and its toll on young soldiers. For that same course, I had students watch a clip from the television show Downton Abbey, followed by a discussion on the British class system in early twentieth-century Britain. When I was a Teaching Assistant for that same course, I had students analyze a painting of Louis XIV of France and examine how his fashion choices correlated with the political idea of absolutism. For History of Science and Technology II, where I was a Teaching Assistant, I used memes of Galileo Galilei to help explain his study of the Earth’s revolutions around the Sun, to show them how controversial his findings were in sixteenth-century Europe. Students also participated in a Twitter-inspired exercise where they had to recount Charles Darwin’s life in 140 character spurts.
I enjoy teaching students from diverse backgrounds in the classroom and in the museum. When I taught research methods at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, I had students from science, engineering, and business departments who never wrote an essay for a history course. Using a series of workshops, I conducted exercises on how to find academically appropriate sources on the Web, how to cite sources, and to peer edit each other’s papers. These workshops helped students look at primary sources more critically and better organize their essays. I prepared them for writing and critical thinking beyond the classroom, emphasizing that those skills are critical in STEM and business fields.