1. You have a degree in sociology from the University of Wisconsin. What inspired you to become a social studies teacher?
My desire to teach came fairly late in life. I was working as a substitute teacher in various school districts to supplement my income. During that time, I had an experience as a long-term substitute for a history class that made me realize how much I love history. I realized during that same month that I wanted to devote my life to being a history teacher.
2. How has life changed for high school students since you were in high school?
I began working for money at the age of 15, first as a grocery clerk and then as a dishwasher, waiter, and bartender. These were all jobs that I had in high school. I don't think any of my students have ever had a job during high school. Also, students are so much kinder and smarter now.
3. What would your dream day as a social studies teacher look like?
I would start the day with a prep period with my colleagues moderating Extended Essays and planning the welcome party for the new member of our Social Studies Department who would be joining us next school year. Then I'd teach IB History, a lesson evaluating the effects of the First World War. During Flex, there would be an Extended Essay consultation with Giancarlo W. At lunch, I'd be discussing the Grateful Dead with students Pedro C. and Rodrigo M. while eating baião de dois. Then for third block, I'd work with grade 12 students in the Theory of Knowledge Socratic Seminar on the prompt, "Can bad art shape bad people? Can good art shape good people?" Fourth block would be grade 9 social studies with a lesson on the economic causes of the American Independence movement. After school, there would be a reassessment with every single student I teach, because they all value self-improvement, learning, and exercising their skills. Finally, at home I would take a long walk with my dog Ayla and my partner Renata, followed by dinner at Bendito Bar with a live album by Phish playing on the radio.
4. If you could change one thing about your appearance, what would it be?
I can't grow a beard.
5. Tell us about Old American Junk.
Old American Junk is the moniker for my songwriting. Making music is a deep passion of mine and I have been composing songs and playing in bands for much of my adult life. I spend my summers playing shows in the United States and from time to time I also play gigs in São Paulo. People could listen by visiting Old American Junk on Spotify or on my website oldamericanjunk.com.
6. What do you remember about your first day of school or your first teacher?
I cried for an hour during my first nap time in kindergarten because I thought I would never see my mom again.
7. What is something that bothers you if it is not done perfectly?
Pasta: Don't overcook it.
8. If you could have dinner with one of the people your students learn about in your classes at Graded, who would it be?
Sir Edward Grey, the British statesman who served as foreign secretary from 1905 to 1916.
9. What "life advice" would you give every student if you were sure they would listen?
It is always now.
10. What's your favorite thing about Graded?
My partner, Lower School Pre-primary Teaching Assistant Renata Reis.