Jeffrey Markham , Coordinator/English Instructor
The most basic thing I do as a teacher is to help realign students with the process of learning. For me, that means trying to undo all the negative associations students have with the classroom, with schoolwork, with all intellectual effort…
I stand by my long-held belief that humans are designed to love learning - that there is an excitement and pleasure built into the process of assimilating information, connecting ideas, expanding one's consciousness, and of resolving contradictions in one's beliefs. More than anything else, I believe it is my responsibility to help students get back to this orientation.
In a better world, every student would walk into the classroom excited to talk, to read, to take creative chances, and to think critically. Unfortunately, this isn't so; therefore, I must make it my priority to help them return to a world where learning is exciting, where thinking is fun, and where knowledge leads to personal and group empowerment.
Lindsay Arado , Coordinator/ Social Studies Instructor
I was born in Washington, DC, graduated from Georgetown University and then spent the next decade of my life doing things like: Americorps (twice), picking blueberries on an organic farm for a summer, backpacking throughout the west, serving in the Peace Corps, and having other fun adventures that did not apply to my degree. Teaching seemed like a natural fit; I earned my Master's in Education from Northwestern. I am also married and spend much of my free time with my two sons.
I served on the strategic plan committee from which IGSS emerged and was thrilled by the discussions we had about education and how to create a school that incorporates more autonomy and self-direction for students. We continue to have those same conversations, recognizing that IGSS is a work in progress and is shaped by all community members, especially our students. As a teacher in IGSS, I am challenged to think about teaching and learning in a very different manner, a process that is exciting (and sometimes painful).
Darrin Jeziorski , Art Instructor
The best way I can grow as an individual and educator is to place myself in environments that are uncomfortable or unfamiliar then start to assess, adapt and evolve based on those new experiences. IGSS is one of these spaces for me. This program fosters collaboration, emphasizes personal connections and challenges both students and staff finds authenticity in their work. Being part of this program for the last 9 years, has afforded me an opportunity to question where I have come from and where I want to be. In life and in my classroom, I seek embrace the inventive, the subjective, and the provocative.
Laura Bean , Social Studies
I became a social studies educator because I believe that we all benefit - students, communities, and the world - when we learn to see beyond our horizons. I see it as my role to help students do that: to encourage them to seek understanding of the backstory and of different ways of life, to think critically about what they find, and to become contributors to a better world. I am also motivated by helping students make complicated tasks and ideas seem more like molehills than mountains. I think that education works best when students have the space and support to discover what they are passionate about and when teachers have a team with which to collaborate - both of which make IGSS so exciting to be a part of.
About me - I grew up and went to college in Massachusetts (if you'd like an accent demonstration, just ask). I spent two years working in human rights policy research before I realized that working in an office, thousands of miles away from the people I wanted to help, was not the right fit for me. I moved to Chicago to get a Master's degree and become a teacher and then spent six years working in Chicago Public Schools before coming to New Trier. Here, I teach social studies and am an assistant coach for the Girls Swimming and Diving Team. I live in the city with my husband and pets. My downtime is usually spent sewing, reading, or trying to convince my husband to let me renovate something.
Mac Guy , English Instructor
Teaching in the IGSS program has been one of my favorite parts of working at New Trier. IGSS presents the unique opportunity to collaborate with such a creative group of teachers on a daily basis, and their collective energy has enlivened my teaching practice in all areas of my work at New Trier. I also love that IGSS emphasises collaboration between students and teachers. One of my goals as a teacher is that my students grow their confidence in their ability to read, interpret, and add their voice to the world around them. Working side by side with students as they develop those skills makes teaching deeply enriching for me.
In addition to being an IGSS English teacher, I am an adviser, and I am the Head Coach of the Girls Swimming and Diving Team. I have taught a variety of different "standard" English courses as well. I'm a parent of two very energetic boys, I play the drums and am learning to play guitar, and I like to run, bike, and spend time out of doors. I'm looking forward to a great school year!
Tom Lau , Art Instructor
I am a photographer and a teacher. I'm a 1.5th generation Chinese-American by way of Colombia, South America. When I was ten, my family immigrated to the United States and settled on the Southside of Chicago where I still live with my booknerd of a partner and perfectly imperfect child.
I photograph mostly with film cameras, and am drawn to spaces that are lonely and disquiet. I like exploring the emptiness of urban environments, and the grit and grime of abandonment; somewhere in those ambiences, I'm looking for hope, love, and optimism.
I strive to teach with love and humor. I would love it if my photography students turned their film in on time. My challenge to myself as a teacher is to encourage students to think critically, but with empathy, and to never accept contentment in their voice. My teaching style exemplifies and encourages failing and experimenting, and growing and learning in the rough moments.
I joined the IGSS program in 2018 and it has been as meaningful as it is challenging. I was able to witness passionate teaching and got to see what can happen when students are given agency over their own education. The IGSS program draws out the inherent compassion, empathy, and action that is embodied by so many in the IGSS community; a central expectation is that the learning and experiences goes from personal and local to the broader community and beyond. I am privileged and humbled to have been able to help facilitate this for many of our IGSS students this past year.