Working with students of all ages and from various different backgrounds has influenced my approaches to teaching. Much of this work has been with groups of students who, while different from each other, have found themselves mixed into the same classroom. I started my teaching path at the Beverly Arts Center, a non-profit educational organization on the south side of Chicago. Some of my students were from neighboring affluent neighborhoods, while others would travel to us from underserved places in the city. I realized quickly that film, and art in general, provided a means to cut through the differences in economic status that existed between these students. For the hour and a half that they had a camera in their hands they all became artists who had their own ideas and visions, and it was through embracing these ideas that the communal aspect of the classes was formed.
Now, many years later, I find myself in similar situations working with high school students. Teaching at a private high school, my rosters include students that make the short trip from middle and upper class neighborhoods, and others who make much longer journeys from lower class ones. When they arrive in my classroom they are introduced to international cultures within film that none of them have experienced before. Thus, the hope is that without ignoring or downplaying their experiences, all of my students are witness to new things on an equal level and that this bridges gaps that may exist between them.
Assisting me in this work is training that I have received over the last few years to teach within the International Baccalaureate program. The program is grounded in the study of culture, both nationally and internationally. This direction quickly changes how teenage students look at film and art. By pointing out the way films create metaphors through cultural references, and by having students research and find examples of these on their own, the classes become more of a celebration of culture as opposed to only an analysis of what appears on screen. I now feel it is my responsibility to use my position as a film teacher to expose students to work, stories, and cultures that they otherwise wouldn’t seek out themselves.
DePAUL COLLEGE PREP HIGH SCHOOL
Lead Film Teacher
2018 - Present
Courses taught: International Baccalaureate Film, Film Production, Documentary, Video Editing, Film Genre Studies
BEVERLY ARTS CENTER
Film Program Coordinator
2012 - 2018
Introduction/Intermediate Filmmaking, Stop Motion Animation, Movie Editing, Screenwriting, Making Music Videos, Voice Over Acting
Age range: 8 years old to adult