Graduate Spotlight: Marisa Gallin, English and English Education ☆

Congratulations to Marisa Gallin, who graduated this May with her Master’s degree in English and English Education!

Gallin, who practiced law for three years before deciding to teach English, plans on teaching at middle school and high school levels. Most recently she student taught 9th grade English at the Young Women’s Leadership School.

Gallin was drawn to the English and English Education program at Teachers College based on its student-centered approach to teaching, focus on literature and writing, and its progressive nature.

For Gallin, teaching is primarily about helping students make connections. “…for me teaching is about helping my students connect with literature and writing. That includes comprehending and appreciating the mechanics, of course, but also connecting on a deeper level with themselves and the world.  It’s important that we use reading and writing to explore societal issues in a very human way–examining our common experiences and feelings, empathizing with others, and understanding different perspectives and interpretations… I want my students to not just be analyzing and approaching the text, but seeing themselves as communicators of their ideas, learning to express themselves artistically.”

Gallin also finds the personal connections she makes with her students extremely important. “I try to figure out how to connect to my students in the best way, communicating through a variety of manners [whether it’s] in writing, personal face to face time, or getting to know their families and their home life.”

Ultimately, Gallin says, “I want to help my students see themselves as part of a larger discourse.”

As for advice for incoming students, Gallin says “I would tell aspiring teachers to really figure out what you want to teach, what your primary goal is, and then take everything you learn here in stride.  There are lots of great ideas out there, but they don’t always gel.  Pick and choose what approach you’re going to adopt as your own based on your personal compass.  Form your own ideological stance on teaching and measure everything against that.”