What made you want to become a teacher?
My passion for teaching is, I think, a function of my love of my subject matter. History and Lit are just so good, and I love helping students achieve those light-bulb moments when things seem to click together. I think there's something remarkably empowering and satisfying about knowing, and about being able to truly explain something, and that's an ability I want to cultivate in my students - I want them to fully grasp that things happen for a reason as they work to understand past and present alike! Besides, true change begins with our young people, and that makes what we do incredibly important. Finally, teaching gives me an outlet for all my bad puns and jokes.
What sparked your interest in both History and Literature?
I knew I wanted to be a writer back in high school (picture a lot of bad poetry and a "book" that will never see the light of day), and during my college years I undertook extensive literary studies as part of an interdisciplinary major in Jewish Studies. While I'd always been a bit of a history nut, these years also allowed me to see the great overlap between historical and literary analysis, and the birth of my son had catalyzed in me a strong interest in being able to understand and explain my own traditions (and those of others) to my child. In that sense my teaching is, in part, a function of my asking, "How do I introduce my own child to this world?" I moved on into a PhD program in history, got to write my book-length study of French-Israeli relations, and the rest, as they say, "is history."
What is your favorite subject to teach?
An impossible question! I love the explanatory power, ironies, and complexity of history, while I thrive on the flexibility, analytical depth, subtle humor, and attention to detail of literature. Ultimately, my favorite subject is the one I'm teaching at any given moment!
How did you end up at KYHS? Where were you beforehand?
I'm a Philadelphia native and did my undergraduate work at Penn State before moving on to Washington, DC and George Washington University for six years to do my PhD work, with occasional periods abroad in France or England for research. I was delighted to find KYHS as it allows me to teach the subjects I love, including Jewish history, to students who actually care about the subject and can see it reflected in their own lives.
What are some of your hobbies and passions?
Video gaming tops my list. Other favorites include reading, D&D, painting, schlepping to the gym, and coming up with bad jokes to use in class.
What is your favorite place to travel to? What can you be found doing there?
To be honest, I'm a homebody and would sooner stay in. The one place I ever wanted to visit when I was younger was Florida, and now I'm here! Most of my travel in the last few years has been to archives in Paris for research -- which is way less cool than it sounds! Still, the city has a special place in my heart. As my history students will tell you, all great things begin in Paris!