A: I got both my bachelor’s and master’s degrees in English at the University of Georgia and had my first experiences as a teacher as a graduate student at UGA. Before coming to Ensworth, I served as a middle and high school English teacher at Trinity School, an independent K-12 school in Midland, TX. I was drawn to Ensworth by its commitment to progressive pedagogy and best teaching practices, its bright and motivated students and faculty, and its dedication to promote the well-rounded growth of each of its students. I’m really enjoying my first year here at Ensworth, and it’s also nice being back in Nashville. I grew up here in town, so it’s great to be back!
Q: Being that Harkness Tables are not standard in classroom settings, tell us about how you have adjusted to that teaching style and the benefit it provides to the students and to you as a teacher.
A: Because I have always favored a student-centered approach as an educator, I am excited to be teaching in a Harkness classroom. I think that the Harkness Table is a great tool for teaching students to be critical thinkers and for encouraging them to take ownership of their own learning. The Harkness Table really encourages students to ask inquisitive questions and to listen closely to their peers’ responses and rebuttals. The environment around the table definitely reinforces the dynamics of intelligent and engaging conversation.
Q: What do you enjoy doing when you are not working?
A: In my leisure time, I enjoy playing my guitar and writing songs. I also like spending time outdoors—whether I’m going for a run or taking a hike. Of course, I love to have the chance to get together with friends and family, as well.
Q: Ensworth encourages teachers to be involved with students outside the classroom as well as teaching. What are some of the extracurricular activities that you are doing this year? How does that help you be a better teacher?
A: This year, I’m serving as an assistant coach for the boys’ basketball team. I really enjoy coaching because it gives me the chance to work with students outside of the classroom. It also helps me to get more involved in the larger school community. Coaching really helps me focus on the fact that, as educators, we are trying to help students grow as well-rounded individuals—and it gets me to focus on the life lessons that students engage with, both on the court and in the classroom. I’m also serving as the faculty advisor for the Improvisational Comedy Club. When I work with students in the Improv Club, I always get new ideas about how to bring creativity, spontaneity, and humor into my English classes.
Q: What is your favorite place you have ever visited and why?
A: The Redwood National Park in California is probably one of the most amazing places I have ever visited. I think the awesome majesty of the redwood trees will always be embedded in my memory.
Q: Who is the next faculty member from the Red Gables campus that you would like to see featured?
A: Robin Smith