Brigitte Leschhorn

In all my English courses, whether at the secondary or postsecondary levels, I have emphasized the power of storytelling. Stories help us connect with a boy in pre-colonial Nigeria, with a girl of marriageable age in Georgian England, with a struggling young woman who immigrated from Iran to Austria. When I let myself be vulnerable about my childhood in Panama, stories bridge the gap between me and my students. I ask for their trust, so they can in turn trust me with their learning. In my classroom, I foster and expect a community that values the experiences and perspectives of every person in the room, so they see those voices as critical to their learning. In a well-designed unit, I will do everything from asking students to explore new concepts, teach lessons, rework rubrics, examine diction and syntax, engage in creative approaches, and connect their personal experiences with the text. I build lessons to chunk and process material, and my students bear a good amount of responsibility in teaching each other, which at Andover yields some of the most memorable experiences.

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