Amanda Gardner is from Anchorage, Alaska. She served as an Education volunteer in Mozambique, teaching English as a Foreign Language at Tete Secondary School from 2005-2007. She currently teaches ESL at the High School of World Cultures in the Bronx, where her [mostly] newly-arrived immigrant students keep her on her toes. Amanda loves exploring the richness of linguistic and cultural diversity of her students' own lived experiences, as well as NYC and the world at large, in her teaching.
Megan is from sunny Miami, FL. She served as a TEFL volunteer working with kids in grades 3-12 in a small village in Moldova. Currently, she’s teaching in an elementary school in the Bronx working with ESL children in grades K-2. Megan has found that while living and working in the City is not always easy, it is always intriguing and exhilarating.
MLE Davis is originally from Bernardston, Massachusetts. After finishing an undergrad degree in American Studies, she decided it was important to leave America and explore something completely new. MLE was looking to explore both a culture distant & different from her own, and to use that difference to reflect back upon her own culture. She spent two years as a Peace Corps Volunteer and an English teacher in Athieme, Benin. Afterwards, MLE spent a year teaching in South Korea but missed the aspect of teaching as a form of development, so she returned to the developing world and spent two years teaching ESL in Yemen. After these five years of teaching and living abroad, MLE wanted to return to America and bring this energy of education for empowerment and whole-student development into an American classroom. She now works at Horizon Academy; a GED program for incarcerated young men on Rikers Island. While the challenges are daunting and sometimes threaten to overwhelm, they remain the thing that gets her out of bed in the morning. Children around the world 's students in Benin, Korea, Yemen, and New York – have a similar need for teachers who care about them as whole people, and can help them find the confidence and means of expression to go forward in the world to be active, empowered citizens.
Elizabeth Hundley is from Richmond, Virginia. She served in Gunichas, Namibia as an English teacher at Johannes Dohren High School from November 2005 to December 2007. She is enrolled in the Teaching of English program at Teachers College and currently teaches Humanities at the Urban Assembly School for Wildlife Conservation in the Bronx, New York.
Elizabeth finds teaching in New York City challenging and rewarding. She works with seventh graders and feels responsible for playing the role of counselor, big sister, parent, disciplinarian and entertainer, as well as teacher. This year, she’s noticed that once a connection has been formed with learners, then learning can take place. Before that connection, real sharing of knowledge can’t happen. There’s a sign outside a building in the Village that reads “If we all do one random act of kindness each day, then we might be able to turn the world in the right direction”— Elizabeth agrees.
Jen Kim joined Peace Corps Madagascar as an Education volunteer a month after graduating with a BA in International Affairs and a minor in Studio Art. Her time with her students in Madagascar fueled her interests to pursue a Masters in TESOL. Currently, Jen is a half-time graduate student through the Peace Corps Fellows program at Teachers College while full time teaching ESL and English Literature in Queens, NYC. Jen incorporates cultural understanding, respect, and social equality in her teachings. She considers herself very fortunate to have students who challenge, inspire, and make her laugh every day.
Kristi Ley is from Madison, Wisconsin. After spending two years as a Rural Community Development Volunteer in Guanacaste, Costa Rica, Kristi realized that she still didn’t know what she wanted to be when she grew up, so went to Shenyang, China to teach English for a year. Kristi returned in search of a livelihood that would allow her to continue developing meaningful relationships on a daily basis while deepening her understanding of the world and those in it. Currently, she is a student of Bilingual/Bicultural Education at Columbia Teachers College and a teacher at Amistad Dual Language School in Inwood, where her First Graders’ curiosity and zeal for life is unavoidably contagious.
Steve Lynch grew up in the rural suburbs of both Wisconsin and Ohio, serving in Turkmenistan as a TEFL teacher with the Peace Corps between '04 and '06. While he was an English teacher in name, most of his time was spent playing ultimate frisbee with his kids and teaching them American and British indie rock songs in their music club, for which they produced three concerts and a recorded album. He currently teaches 9th and 10th grade English Language Arts in Brooklyn and spends a good amount of time each day figuring out how to properly use the phrase "mad tight" in a sentence. Any success he might ever have in the classroom or in life can be credited to his two touchstones: the Schmutz Methodology and Supernanny.
Amanda is from Southern Maine. She completed her Peace Corps service as an English Education/Gender & Development volunteer in the enchanting Sahara Desert (RPCV Mauritania, 2005-2007), and is currently a member of the Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages Program (TESOL) at Teachers College, where she is a high school English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher by day and graduate student by night. Amanda feels fortunate to teach students in Manhattan who share some of the same qualities that her Mauritanian students had, including a diverse yet common West African heritage, and a zest for self-discovery. Amanda is unsure if, without her Peace Corps experience, she would have the confidence or direction that characterizes her teaching now. Because of that experience, she can say that she knows where her kids have been, or at least that she is ready to understand them. This effort to connect with kids informs Amanda’s teaching. They say good learners make good teachers, and she couldn’t agree more.
Jessica is originally from Newark, Delaware. She served in Sokal, Ukraine from September 2004 until November 2006. Jessica is currently earning a Masters in Teaching of English at Columbia University Teachers College, and teaching 9th and 10th grade English at the Secondary School for Law in Park Slope, Brooklyn.
Kelly is from the golden state of California. From 2004-2006, she served as a Public Health Peace Corps volunteer in the Meru region of Kenya teaching HIV prevention and education. From there, she taught English as a foreign language in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Currently, she's a Peace Corps fellow in the TESOL program at Teachers College, Columbia. Kelly works at PS 153, Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Elementary in Harlem as a self-contained classroom teacher for fifth grade ESL students. She wants to teach her students to take pride in their own culture and language, and develop an appreciation for others as well. Kelly believes human beings through out the world should have the right and ability to expand their minds and brighten their future through education.
Maggie is a citizen of the world, but when people ask her where she’s from, she usually says New Jersey. Maggie is of mostly Domincan and Peruvian descent. From 2005-2007 she served as a Peace Corps math teacher in Mozambique, and currently continues to teach math as a Peace Corps Fellow at Landmark High School, an empowerment school in Chelsea. She thinks of our program as Peace Corps NYC and, just as in Mozambique, that being a NYC teacher is also "the toughest job she'll ever love." Maggie thinks that Aristotle said it best - "the roots of education may be bitter but the fruit is sweet." This was the idea she tried to spread in Mozambique, and one she continues to spread today. Education is such a powerful tool, and Maggie hopes that students and parents can see this, especially in the places that we, PCF's and PCV's, go – places that the world often forgets.
Catherine Wiseman is a returned Peace Corps Volunteer who served in the Small Business Development Sector for Peace Corps Nicaragua in the Department of Masaya from May 2000 through August 2002. She also served as a Peace Corps Response Volunteer as an ESL Specialist in Morazan, El Salvador from September 2007 to March 2008. In 2005, she received her California State teaching Credential and worked two years as a transitional bilingual teacher in San Jose, California. She joined the Peace Corps Fellows program in May of 2008 and is currently completing course work to receive a MA in Bilingual, Bicultural Education.