As the 2015-2016 ETA cohort nears the close of their first semester teaching in Korea, FKAR wanted to highlight one of Fulbright’s most inspiring teachers: Maeve Wall. Exuding a signature aura of warmth, acceptance, and encouragement within and beyond the classroom walls, Maeve’s life and pedagogical philosophies are simply galvanizing. She was kind enough to share some of her background and thoughts with FKAR in the following interview.
FKAR: Hey Maeve, tell us a little about yourself~
I’m from Columbus, Ohio and went to undergrad at Northwestern University. I studied English Literature, and was obsessed with it (Go Henry James!). I started teaching while in college through the Jumpstart Program for Young Children which works in high needs preschools. Additionally, I had a few teaching internships including a stint in East Harlem at an Independent charter school, thanks to which I fell in love with New York. After school, I moved to Bushwick, Brooklyn and became a Kindergarten and First Grade teacher through Teach For America. I was lucky enough to get my Masters Degree in Childhood Education at Fordham University during that time.
FKAR: What’s been one of your favorite memories this grant year?
I love figuring out how to work with kids who don’t speak your language. Those moments when students “get it” – amidst language barriers and diverse cultural backgrounds – are immensely rewarding. I think a favorite illustrative moment was working with my after school class and trying, shakily, to talk about gender roles. The students were asked to make a list of things boys can and can’t do before discussing where those ideas came from and which ones they might reconsider or question. When it was time for the girls to make a poster about what girls can do, (I was thinking along the lines of “build things” or “do math,”) one student asked me, “Can we just say girls can do everything?” Yes, WIN.