Transformative Teacher Profile #4: Annie Huynh

Transformative Teacher Annie Huynh

Transformative Teacher Annie Huynh

One of my favorite teacher networks in Philadelphia is Need In Deed, a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting teachers to develop service learning projects for their students. Transformative Teacher Annie Huynh is an active member of this organization, as well as several other teacher networks in Philly. When I published the first TTP, and asked for readers to tell me about Transformative Teachers that they know, Kim Kirn, the Executive Director at Need and Deed reached out to me – she knows MANY transformative teachers. Kim connected me with Annie, who, like another TTP teacher, Noga Newberg, is a teacher at FACTs, a school dedicated to valuing and learning about cultures. Read Annie’s profile to learn about how she incorporates collaboration, outreach, and the study of culture into her teaching and curriculum.

1. Can you share a little background with us about your teaching career? For example, what brought you into teaching? What do you teach?

Currently, I teach third graders reading, writing, and social studies.  In college, I studied anthropology and Chinese language and literature.  After graduation, I took a position teaching English as a Foreign Language in Taiwan to students in kindergarten to fifth grade.  I ended up staying for two years, and I fell in love with teaching.  To learn more about informal education and learning through play, I became an AmeriCorps member in museum education at Providence Children’s Museum for a year.  I learned so much about how children learned, and I wanted to start building relationships with students again, so I enrolled at Temple University’s Graduate School of Education (M.Ed‘10) to obtain my elementary and ESOL certification.

2. What motivates and sustains you as a teacher?

Collaborating with my colleagues and working with other teachers in teacher networks motivates me to constantly grow and take teaching risks to help my students learn.  My students’ energy, sense of justice, and writing sustains me as a teacher.

3. What do you think needs to change or happen in education/schools?

We, as a community of parents, students, teachers, administrators, legislators, and community members, need to continue to demand quality education for ALL students.  An equitable school funding formula is a start.  A strong and positive school culture can help to create a collaborative teaching and learning environment for all.

4. What is something that you are passionate about as a teacher/learner and how do you incorporate it into your teaching?

I am passionate authentic purposes and real-life connections for education.  To that end, I incorporate service-learning pedagogy in a yearlong project with my students through Need in Deed.  Through service-learning, my students can see themselves as agents of change, and my goals for teaching literacy for social justice and anti-bias are met in through this program.

5. What groups, individuals, or networking contexts have supported you in your work? How?

I am on the board of Teachers Lead Philly, a network of practicing teachers in Philadelphia, that connects teachers to leadership development and opportunities.  As the research coordinator for TLP, I curate education research relevant for our teacher workshops and connect teachers to presenting their work at various education conferences.  Need in Deed was one the first networks I joined to learn about how to implement service-learning projects into the classroom.  By collaborating, talking to other teachers, I am able to support and guide students in studying a social issue of their choosing.  Past social issues have been pollution and cancer.  Also, I am a teacher consultant with the Philadelphia Writing Project.  Through this network, I found my voice as a teacher, and it has inspired me to write.  Currently, I blog for Teaching Tolerance.  I am a member of PhillyCORE Leaders, a diverse group of education leaders. Each year, I participate in Teacher Action Group’s TAG Curriculum Fair, which connects me with critical practices for social justice in schools.  To support my classroom projects and connect with area teachers, attending PhilaSoup events has helped me grow my network   I keep up the date with education news, policies, and practices through Twitter and #PhlEd.  To support my classroom practice with reading and writing workshop, I attend events hosted by Teachers’ College Reading and Writing Project and through Twitter using #TCRWP.  Lastly, I serve on the Mayor’s Teacher Advisory Group, a diverse group of public, private, and parochial school teachers that discusses issues and the state of education in Philadelphia.

6. What advice can you share with new teachers just entering the field?

Connect with other like-minded teachers early on, find a mentor, and write for reflection.

**About Transformative Teacher Profiles: TTPs are meant to “flip the script” and offer a counter-narrative to negative and dehumanizing stereotypes about teachers. Here you’ll read about truly transformative teaching, leadership, and inspiring work. The format is simple: I ask six questions of each teacher that I profile about their teaching and learning. If you know of amazing teachers that I should profile, please write me a comment below or send me a tweet about them!** 

Coming up on Wednesday: Guest Blogger and Educational Thought Leader Dr. Emery Petchauer blogs on “How Not to Teach like a Hip Hop Champion”

And still to come: Part II of my Book Review of “Sitting Still Like a Frog: Mindfulness Exercises for Kids,” More TTPs, More Educational Thought Leader Guest Bloggers… stay tuned!


One thought on “Transformative Teacher Profile #4: Annie Huynh

  1. So great to see this in (virtual) black and white. Thanks for the NID-specific shout out in the opening! Will send you the remaining profiles once weve got em.

    Hope youre well! ~kim

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