Roman Sturgis Take care of each other and make good decisions.

November 2, 2007

I’m a school teacher.

Filed under: — Roman @ 12:35 pm

I teach English Composition.Currently I work in the high school at Dubai American Academy. I am known as a highly effective instructor and advisor who makes deep and meaningful connections with students. Previous to DAA, I was a teacher, coach, dorm parent, and advisor at Western Reserve Academy, the number one independent school in Ohio. At DAA I have applied my special blend of techniques for teaching analytical writing to a rigorous IB prep curriculum while further honing my craft as a creative writing instructor. With the support of my administration, I have enjoyed freedom to experiment with a new approach to authentic differentiated instruction. In addition to recording my classes and posting them to Google Classroom, I have further developed classroom routines with custom video tutorials using Camtasia software (think Khan Academy for writing). But the most recent development has been a “video game” approach that I created after extensive reading and reflection. In The Great Gatsby Game my 11th graders work their way through a sequence of progressively more challenging activities. Like a video gamer, or scientist, my students fail often before demonstrating mastery. This allows my students to work at their own appropriate pace, exercise authority over their own education, develop intrinsic motivation, resilience, and problem-solving, while participating in a rigorous curriculum. These efforts have been applauded by my Principal, Special Education Director, Curriculum Coordinator, and Innovation Director.

Actively seeking opportunities to learn and improve is my default position. I earned my BFA at Emerson College in Boston where I took more than a dozen writing workshops and won two of the College’s top prizes for prose (best non-fiction in The Emerson Review and an EVVY for best prose). With the assistance of a Teaching Fellowship and a scholarship from the Institute for Humane Studies, I went on to earn an MFA in fiction at Boston University, one of the oldest and most prestigious creative writing programs in the United States. In my first year at DAA I observed two master IB Lang/Lit teachers every day during the fall semester (80+ hours total), and worked to implement Instructional Rounds at our school. Furthermore, my participation in the UAE’s pilot program to develop a national teaching license has yielded valuable understanding of Emirati heritage and culture. In recent summers I have attended week-long workshops with Architects for Learning (2014) and Bard College’s Institute for Thinking and Writing (2015). As you may infer, professional development is crucial to my growth as an innovative teacher.

Why am I an international school teacher? I am myself the product of several international school experiences. As I say in my classroom, “what happens in childhood shapes us for life.” The son of a nomadic family, my K-8 years were spent in Norway, Indonesia, and Qatar. It is not a coincidence that this Third Culture Kid has become a teacher of other TCKs. Living abroad has had a profound and lasting impact on my development as a student, a teacher, and a global citizen. I look forward to connecting with you and exploring how we might work together to deliver exceptional educational opportunities to our students.

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