I want students to argue with the material and me. I’m always telling them they shouldn’t just listen and take it in. They need to listen, dissect it, and respond.

It would be sad and boring for me to go into my History of Iran class and just tell them about the history of Iran. Instead, it’s really about finding the right questions and asking the hard questions and dissecting the information to respond to these questions. Those are the skills that allow for students who are out in the world to confront ambiguity, confront propaganda, and to respond to it, disagree with it effectively.

The teaching, the immediacy of being in the classroom with the students, experiencing that light-bulb moment, that magical moment when people are starting to think differently and they see the world in a different way—that magical moment is really one of the things that drives me. I look forward to it every day.

It’s surprising, it’s invigorating, it’s enlightening. It shapes my thinking as well. I see something differently and now I have a different perspective.


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