Welcome to PCIA’s new Teacher Feature blog series! Each month, we’re getting to know one of our teachers a little bit better, both professionally and personally. What’s your favorite thing about Ms. Emily M. Green? Let us know in the comments, or better yet, tell her yourself!
What would the students be surprised to find out about you?
- I once had blue hair.
- When I was a kid, I didn’t want to eat a sandwich, so I tried to flush it down the toilet. It was not the slickest of moves.
How do you think technology makes teaching more simple or difficult?
Technological advances in LMS (Learning Management Systems), video communications, and document sharing have made interacting with students not just possible but even easier during the pandemic. Being willing to try out and use new technologies means greater flexibility in teaching and therefore more opportunities for my students. I find that most students are willing to come along for the ride and be patient while I figure out how to make something new work for us.
If you could take your students on a field trip to anywhere in the world, where would you take them?
The dream field trip would be a literary writing world tour, stopping in cities like Paris, Cairo, and Tokyo. We would visit writers’ homes and haunts, as well as bookstores and libraries. We would write, observe, and explore. We would spend the evenings turning the notes from the day into poems and stories, and by the end of the tour, each student would have an amazing portfolio of writing that they would be proud to submit to any university.
What is your first memory from school?
I always loved school. I loved learning about animals, I found words strange and fascinating, and I wanted to understand how numbers worked. One of the first things that I remember is sitting on the carpet (often called “Circle Time” now) while the teacher read Rikki-Tikki-Tavi. I had never heard of a mongoose before, and it created the belief that the world was full of spectacular things that I had no exposure to at home, but that school could take me anywhere.
What three traits define you?
I am basically a shrinking violet. Except I’m really witty, outgoing, and invested in motivating others to be their best selves.
What’s the coolest (or most important) trend you see today?
I recently earned a Masters in Teaching from the University of Washington, and the program was focused on social justice. There is so much exciting new research and teaching practices to build equity in our schools. How much greater would our magnificent country be if every child had the opportunity to succeed?
What is one of your hidden talents?
Perhaps it’s not so hidden, but I am passionate about writing poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction. My work has been published in literary journals such as The Florida Review, Prairie Schooner, and Poet Lore.
How do you define success?
Success is pushing yourself beyond what you thought you were capable of and achieving what you did not know you could do. Success, then, is defined by our individual goals and our individual abilities, but each of us is capable and called to succeed. At PCIA, we believe that all students are capable of academic success, capable of learning and achieving beyond what they previously thought possible. We support this kind of growth through helping students to set goals, learn skills that they can apply throughout their academic and professional careers, and by providing constructive feedback and ample encouragement.
What is the best book you have ever read?
Oooh…not really a fair question! So, I am going to give not really a fair answer. The book of poetry that gives me shivers every time I read it because it is so good is Transformations by Anne Sexton. For novels, The Long, Dark Teatime of the Soul by Douglas Adams came to me at a point when my life seemed to hang in the balance for want of a good laugh. I avoided reading Moby Dick for a long time until my professor in graduate school, Jesse Lee Kercheval, basically told me that it was unconscionable not to, and I was astounded by how much fun it was to read. Kelly Link changed my idea of what a short story could be with Magic for Beginners, which led me to Angela Carter and so many other incredible authors. In the Palm of Your Hand by Steve Kowit is one of the best poetry textbooks ever written. And, of course, I love learning and reading Torah.
Have you ever had something happen to you that you thought was bad but it turned out to be for the best?
So. Many. Times. When I was in fifth grade, I decided that I wanted to go to Smith College. The writers Ann M. Martin (author of The Baby-Sitter’s Club series), Sylvia Plath, and Jane Yolen all went to Smith College, and I made it my mission to attend Smith. Seven years later, when the little envelope came to tell me that I was waitlisted, to say that I was heartbroken would be an understatement. It felt like every dream I had ever imagined had been ripped from my grip. However, other acceptance letters came, and I decided that I could not pass up the offer from Carnegie Mellon University waiting for the possibility that Smith might accept me from the waitlist. I had already met the director of the Creative Writing Department, Jim Daniels, while I was at Pennsylvania Governor’s School for the Arts. My sister had graduated from Carnegie Mellon, my older brother was in the architectural program there, and I loved Pittsburgh. It was the best decision that I could have made. What I learned, my personal and intellectual growth, and the relationships that I built there were invaluable.