Alumnus Update: Andrew Ratner
I graduated GW University in May of 2007. During that period in which most of the seniors (including myself) were thinking, “What am I going to do now?” I began to look into going to Chile to teach English. I had studied in Santiago, Chile for a semester my junior year, and had friends there who I wanted to see. I also had this inkling that teaching would be a possible career choice. So I decided to combine the two, and apply for teaching jobs with the Ministry of Education, a program called English Opens Doors. I had the fortune to stay in Santiago and worked with kids from fifth grade to eighth grade in a rather poor school.
Teaching without any educational background besides the skills you carry from college teaches you more than enough about social interactions, class, the educational system, and cultural dynamics. The difference between one part of Santiago and the other is incredible, and I am lucky to have experienced this. But, to move on, I finished up the semester and looked for another teaching job, this time at the DuocUC, a technical/professional institute, a much more structured operation. This time with an idea of what I was doing, I taught adults and young adults aged nineteen to thirty. It’s pretty hilarious to be called “Sir” when your student’s three years older than you.
In the meantime, I had this itch to teach American poetry something that I’m really passionate about. I organized a proposal and sent it to the education department in the municipality of Maipú, where I taught last semester, and was accepted! So twice a week I teach American poetry to community teachers of English language.
I have to take the chance to say thank you to all of my teachers in the English department. Professors Tony Lopez and Holly Dugan really opened my eyes to a new way of critiquing literature and the everyday things we take for granted; Chris Sten introducing me to American literature; and especially Fred Pollack and Jane Shore, who really helped me (along with a classroom full of excellent poets) along with my poetry, which I’m still writing today.
PS: I also have a poetry blog where I post interesting quotes and mostly my own poetry. I also had two poems published, one at www.prickofthespindle.com (volume 2), called “After Stanzas, Sexes, Seductions by Anne Carson,” and one at www.thievesjargon.com called “I’m an inexperienced hiker.”