Teaching Experience and Philosophy Statement
"In my view, good teaching is really about helping learners frame good questions. If our teaching is focused only on providing content, students will use it until it is no longer relevant. But if we teach them how to find and frame critical and relevant questions to their own experiences, then we cultivate understanding, true learning, and ultimately an intelligent thinking citizenry." - Barbara Vacarr
I believe in student-centered education and self-directed learning in which student inquiry and discovery is at the center of learning. I believe in Socratic dialogue as a means to arrive at knowledge, a process in which discovering and asking questions is a catalyst for intellectual and emotional growth.
My teaching experiences have been varied and wide including being a member of the English cadre and co-department chair of the English department at my school. In 1998, I began working in the field of education; I tutored children ages kindergarten to twelfth at learning centers for a few years. Then, as I worked on my teaching credential, I was student-teaching at a public elementary school in Pasadena. Afterwards, I worked as an assistant teacher for two years at Walden School, a private school in Pasadena. In April 2006, I began my first gig with my own classroom - I taught eighth grade English at Harrison Middle School in East Los Angeles. This two-year long teaching experience proved to test my will and determination to continue in the field. It was here, working with kids who came from unstable family lives and neighborhoods where gang violence was prevalent, that I gained the strength and understanding that has helped me maintain a solid grounding throughout the years. I came to understand that what and how I teach needed to matter to these kids who face life and death situations daily and I needed to make that connection to help them see beyond the day.
Then, I taught English at a public high school in Los Angeles for five years. Afterwards, I taught English at a public middle school in Panorama City for three years. Currently, I teach English literature and writing at a public high school where everyday I try to inspire my students to think, learn, be creative and grow through reading and writing.
I received my Masters in Fine Arts in Creative Writing (poetry) at Goddard College where I gained a deeper appreciation for student-centered learning. I am interested in helping my students balance the study of craft with finding their passions and taking risks in their writing and thinking.
I believe in the importance of reading different genres. Poetry, fiction and non-fiction are often intertwined. I encourage my students to read a wide variety of books and to think as unique, creative readers and writers. I believe in the important work of decolonizing education so that students can learn from diverse indigenous perspectives.
In the summer of 2019, I participated in the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian´s Native Knowledge 360 Summer Teacher Institute in Washington, D.C. I collaborated with a community of thirty educators from around the country and learned from indigenous elders and educators integrating indigenous perspectives and voices in literature and history into the school curriculum. You can find online resources here:
"30,000 teachers at LA Unified School District are on strike. Why are they doing it? For their students."
"I am a Teacher in Los Angeles and I am Ready to Go On Strike"
California Writing Awards, 2013 - Judge for student poetry submissions from California.
Alliance for Young Artists & Writers: "The American Voices Award" ("Best in Region"), 2012 - On the judging panel to nominate the top 5 works among the 16 highest scoring Gold Key works (from The Scholastic Writing Awards) in various genres.
Alliance for Young Artists & Writers: The Scholastic Writing Awards, 2012 - Judge for poetry by students around the nation.
California Writing Awards, 2012 - Judge for student poetry submissions from California.
California Writing Project (CWP) - "Call to Write: Writing Poetry to Remember and Make Change, Teresa Chuc." http://voicebox.nwp.org/iwritethefuture/discussion/call-write-writing-poetry-remember-and-make-change-teresa-chuc-dowell
California Writing Awards, 2011 - Judge for student poetry submissions from California.
CATE Convention, February 13, 2010 - Presented "the Architecture of Writing."
Los Angeles Writing Project, Cal State University of Los Angeles, July 7, 2010 - Guest speaker for the writing research groups.
California Writing Awards, 2010 - Judge for student poetry submissions from California.
Poetry Writing Workshops
Wrightwood Literary Festival 2016 - Teresa Mei Chuc will lead a poetry writing workshop at the Wrightwood Literary Festival on Saturday, June 4, 2016. http://www.wrightwoodlitfest.com/
Nature as Metaphor
Nature is a source of inspiration for many writers. How is nature used as a metaphor to express human desires and experience? In this workshop, we will look at examples of poetry that uses nature as a metaphor to express our humanity in microcosm or macrocosm, on a cellular level or on a universal level or somewhere in between. What do we see in ourselves when we look at nature, a dandelion, a mushroom, an oak tree…the mycelium network? Even nature’s colors invoke in us deep emotions. How is the natural consciousness of the Earth connected to our human consciousness? Attendees will write their own poems inspired by the surrounding nature as a metaphor for some aspect of human life and experience, personal or universal.
Testimonials for a writing workshop in Hopkinton, Massachusetts on June 19, 2014: "How We Heal & Transform Ourselves And Society Through Writing": A Conversation & Workshop with Teresa Mei Chuc
"Being with Teresa Mei Chuc, as she presented her experiences in poems and memoir, at Hopkinton, lead me into another way to know how poetry and writing are that light working through the dark. I've tried to name the pain of violence and war in past recall of family traumas, as I listened to Teresa's beautiful words, her own pain, a war only second hand for me, she opened me to trust my own past and future cracks, they can admit light as well, from "gold", as a "repair" metaphor. This was explained in her story, to describe broken Japanese Pottery. Thursday's talk and Saturday's reading became a further opening for me in my love of using art (poetry) to heal. Teresa's healing is our best healing for future." ----Linda Havel
"Totally inspiring, reigniting all to the true essence of finding and then sharing life experiences in a profound way."
--collage artist/writer Cathy Weaver Taylor
"I thoroughly enjoyed listening to Teresa read her poetry at the workshop. Her emotional connection to her work shines through and is beautiful to witness. Almost immediately, I felt a connection and was inspired by her. When she called on us to share what we had written, I felt completely at ease with no worries of judgment."--Ginger Gibeault