As a teacher, I see myself as a classroom facilitator whose role is to spark students’ interest in all things Polish. My courses are an eclectic mix of open-ended discussions, short lectures, group work, and occasional personal anecdotes. Whether teaching the Polish language, literature, society, or history, I employ storytelling to foster students’ engagement. I maintain a dynamic classroom environment by planning for and implementing communicative tasks, frequent student-student and student-instructor interactions, and leaving time for free expressions of thought. I facilitate students’ immersion in the material through digital projects and tools, promoting learning through creative expression.
In my Polish language courses, I employ a communicative approach that emphasizes interaction and combines interactive tasks with concise grammatical instruction to build students’ confidence in the language. In my experience, students perform best when they possess relevant metalinguistic awareness and have multiple opportunities to practice new constructions. To facilitate students’ immersion, I rely on creative activities, frequent in-class collaborations, and occasional metalinguistic comments that draw on their knowledge of languages. Learning languages can (and should) be fun for everyone, which is how I approach my lesson design. In December 2021, my Polish-language teaching materials received a distinction from the North American Association of Teachers of Polish (NAATPl) in the Instructor Award for Exemplary Teaching and Learning Materials competition.
In my culture and society courses, I engage with major global issues — migration, multicultural heritage, politics and comedy — in the context of Poland and/or neighboring areas. As I often say, Poland has over 1,000 years of history and millions of stories to tell. My job as an instructor is to excavate intriguing stories that teach us something valuable about the world around us. I aim to de-exoticize Poland by showcasing it as a fascinating case study within Europe and the world.