Hi, I'm William!

I speak English

I speak English

Tell us a little bit about yourself. I am founder of Dida Academy, education startup promoting self-directed, project-based learning. I am a educator with 8+ years experience in New York City and Chicago high schools. I have taught English language arts, public speaking, drama, citizenship, and physical education--all-rooted in community-building and self-reflection. To support social-emotional development, I have developed a backlog of improv-based exercises for individuals and groups. My mother taught me that “it is a privilege to work with youth,” and I whole-heartedly agree. 

What's your philosophy on what it means to be a great teacher? "Great teaching begins with active listening. People, no matter their age, learn at different paces and rhythms. The job of an effective facilitator is to recognize the needs of students and to stoke their natural motivations. 

What advice would you give to someone who is considering becoming a teacher? Deeply reflect on your own learning style and needs. Before you decide to support others in their personal learning journeys, you should have a rich understanding of your own history of development. 

In your opinion, what is the role of the live teacher in a world where it is becoming increasingly easy to get access to information through the internet and online courses? "A live facilitator is an indispensable support for all learners at some stages of their learning journeys. Teachers may example mastery of a skill and offer give real-time feedback. Or s/he may connect subject matter to individual goals and social development. 

How can we, as teachers of children, work to build a society where people are respectful towards each other and the environment? Teachers should strive to embody the character and talents we offer our students. Transparency and authenticity are powerful tools for demonstrating balance in our ever-complicating environment. We can share respect liberally to others and ourselves. Doing so publicly affirms values to the learning community.

What is your philosophy on and approach to behavioral management? I believe that honesty and consent are fundamental to developing an equitable learning relationship. I avoid shame-based punishment systems as management. Instead, I seek to amplify the natural reward system of the student and family (tribe).  

Do you have experience working with children with special needs? If so, please specify. I have experience working with students with learning disabilities (multiple types), students with minor to moderate physical disabilities, and students with a range of functioning on the autism spectrum. I have experience working with students with learning disabilities (multiple types), students with minor to moderate physical disabilities, and students with a range of functioning on the autism spectrum.

Are there any projects you’ve done (related or unrelated to teaching) that you’d like to share? I have experience working with students with learning disabilities (multiple types), students with minor to moderate physical disabilities, and students with a range of functioning on the autism spectrum. I have experience working with students with learning disabilities (multiple types), students with minor to moderate physical disabilities, and students with a range of functioning on the autism spectrum.

Credentials: Agile Learning Facilitator Training (NYC), Revive the Dream Fellow (2016-2017), Masters of Arts in Teaching - Secondary Education (National-Louis University, Chicago, IL), Bachelor of Arts - Theater Arts (Muhlenberg College, Allentown, PA), Workshops and Training Programs from Second City Theater, iO Theater, and Chicago Shakespeare Theater.