What I Teach

Subjects

I’m a historian by training, but I like to think of myself as a bit of an intellectual Swiss Army knife. In the schools where I’ve taught, I’ve offered classes in a range of subjects:

American history
American literature
European history
Greek & Roman history
World history
Classical Greek language
Western Philosophy
Social Ethics

My own academic research at Harvard and Cambridge has focused on the same subjects which I teach, but also:

Moral & political philosophy
Social theory
Sociology
History of religion

Reading skills

No matter what subject I’m teaching, I aim to improve the core academic skills of my students. I start with teaching my students how to be attentive, critical readers. While most high school teachers try to limit the amount of homework we assign, it’s still true that our students face hours of work every night. I teach my students how to understand a text and formulate good questions in response to it, but I also teach them how to do that efficiently. I show them how to tailor their approach according to the type of source they need to read: textbooks, novels, primary sources, modern scholarship, etc. Being able to correctly apply different reading strategies is the key to reading carefully and efficiently.

Just as important as being able to read well is being able to take good notes. I teach my students different styles of note-taking and help them master the one that’s best for them.

Writing skills

Crafting an essay–or a dissertation–can be excruciatingly laborious, but it also can be tremendously exciting and rewarding. In my classes and tutoring, one of my top priorities is teaching students how to write clearly and persuasively. Many of my students have been surprised–to their delight or otherwise–by how carefully I read and respond to their work. Helping students craft beautiful, tightly-argued essays is especially rewarding for me because I know that the skills my students develop will help them in all subjects, not just the ones I happen to be teaching at the time.

Research skills

Doing primary and secondary-source research challenges even the best students. Research is difficult because there are so many steps involved: choosing a topic, formulating a good research question, finding and analyzing primary sources, identifying relevant modern scholarship, assessing how views on the topic have changed over time… Transforming research into a well-written essay is equally challenging. I teach my students how to approach each part of the process: reading and organizing research notes effectively, crafting a thesis, choosing a structure for the essay as a whole, organizing individual paragraphs, and citing sources at the right time and in the correct format.

Test preparation & admissions essays

I’m often asked by students to help them perfect the essays that they write for college admissions, summer internships, or other selective programs. I am also happy to work with students to prepare them for a variety of standardized tests: SAT, ACT, AP, A-Levels, GCSEs, IB, etc.

IMG_3149

[Mumbai, India: 2012. Globalization is a central theme in many of the history classes I teach. New Yorkers will recognize this French chain bakery. Le Pain Quotidien was founded in Brussels, but has more locations in the United States than in Europe. And now it’s in India!]

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