This is the fourth installation of our column, Get to Know Your Teachers! The column features interviews with faculty members at ISD, both returning and new. This week we're chatting with Middle School Social Studies teacher Anna Rabin.
Where were you before ISD? I spent 10 years in Manassas, VA, working for Prince William County schools. I taught Middle School for 2 years and Elementary ESOL for 8 years.
What do you teach at ISD? I teach 6th and 7th grade social studies. 6th grade is Ancient World History, and 7th grade is Medieval World History. I taught Middle School for two years in the US, but this is my first year with 7th graders.
What do you like about teaching those subjects? Well, first, history is my passion so it’s fun to do history all day every day. It’s a privilege to be immersed in things that I like to think about anyway and to share that with Middle Schoolers. What I love about 6th grade in particular is that they’re beginning to think more abstractly, beginning to think about their place in the world, but they still have an open-mindedness and flexibility. They can be very creative thinkers. I really love this age! It’s fun to hang out with Middle School kids.
Let's talk about Medieval history! That seems like a really fun thing to teach. One thing I really like about this job is that every day I learn so much about history. The field of Medieval History has changed so much since when I was growing up, when it was all castles and knights. Now we have a much greater awareness of the rest of the world. In my classes, I start by having the students talk about what they imagine when they think about medieval times, and it's almost always Medieval Europe--knights and castles. But in class we've looked at the Inca, the Silk Road, the trans-Saharan gold routes, and had interesting conversations about why most people immediately imagine medieval Europe instead of other parts of the globe—there were other very advanced civilizations out there!
How would you describe the students at ISD? These students as a whole have really been exposed to such a wide variety of experiences. I’m impressed with how many are passionate about causes, for instance, feminism, social justice…the students are creative, original thinkers, and sometimes they are just really goofy and I get a kick out of that. And Middle Schoolers for the most part are really enthusiastic. They're willing to give everything a try.
What is something that most people at ISD might not know about you? I taught in French public schools for two years. Also I went to a boarding school in high school, which in the US is a somewhat unusual experience to have. Besides that, I’ve almost always been in a public school setting.
What is your favorite meal at Shady Shack? Lately I’ve gotten into the hummus and legumes kaak. It's delicious.
What is your favorite place in Senegal? Well, we haven’t traveled much but we did go to La Somone, and the nature reserve there is pretty amazing.