Will has been teaching creative writing and ELA to high school, undergraduate, and graduate students since 2008. He has taught in American and international high schools and institutions of higher learning, including Gilman School, Goucher College, St. Stephen’s School in Rome, and the University of Maryland, College Park. In the summers he directs the Goucher College Young Writers’ Camp, a creative writing and college preparatory camp for high school students grades 9-12. For the past six years Will has also worked one-on-one with middle and high school students as a private writing tutor and executive function coach. He was trained in executive function pedagogical practices and visualization and verbalization reading strategies by Fran Bowman. Will is also an award-winning poet (Westerly, 2013) and translator from Italian, so that, whatever he happens to be teaching, he hopes to kindle in his students a love of language, an appreciation for writing as a process, and a curiosity about other cultures.
Teaching Philosophy & Approach:
One of my favorite English teachers was a short, frail, bespectacled woman who seemed to have her hair cut every week. My classmates and I called her The Moose (trimming a few syllables from her Greek surname). Her physical appearance was deceptive: The Moose was vigor in the flesh, and the books she assigned, like Kiss of the Spider Woman and The Pawnbroker, were unflinching and unexpected. The Moose held her students to high standards and in doing so demonstrated her deep respect for them. By making us confront complexity, The Moose taught us we *could* confront it. Plus she had a wicked sense of humor. But most important to my own teaching practice was the value she placed on drawing connections: between cultures (her reading list included works from various countries), between disciplines (all those painters she introduced me to!), between what we encounter on our newsfeeds and what we encounter in the pages of a book. In my own classes and one-on-ones, I invite students to engage in this same kind of cross-genre, cross-disciplinary, and cross-cultural thinking. Sometimes I’ll use poetry to get students thinking about voice in college essays. Sometimes I’ll ask students to look at collages or multimedia work before embarking on a compare-and-contrast paper. In a recent class, I had students hunt for culturally-specific allusions in a Beyonce video before analyzing academic theories of high-context and low-context cultures. This pedagogical approach keeps students on their toes and inspires them to be open and curious thinkers. Functions, I might add, of good writing, too. I’m a writer myself, so my real hope is to instill in students an enthusiasm for language: for the well-made sentence, for the arresting metaphor, for sound. I find that students who read widely and deliberately, asking themselves—in addition to what a text means—how a text was made and the effects of those choices, generally engage in a richer and more purposeful relationship with the written word.
- High School
- Full-Semester Classes
- Full-Year Classes
- Partial Year Classes (Mini Courses)
- Creative Writing
- Comprehension and Grammar