Nadia Nibbs

Multicultural Literature Teacher

Hiawatha Collegiate High School

What are the set of experiences that brought you to teaching?
My pathway to the classroom was a windy one! I attended Tufts University with dreams of becoming a diplomat living overseas. However, during my undergraduate time, I realized that while I loved learning about nations and their histories, I was becoming more grounded and active in the realities of the American struggle, particularly for people of color. I was fortunate to volunteer with an education non-profit organization in Boston and fell in love with the classroom. With encouragement from my Dean, I applied to Teach for America and have fallen in love with all that the classroom has to offer, both for students and for the teacher.

What do you love most about teaching?
I love getting to listen to students take pride in their creative thinking and debate with one another about the interpretations and layers of a text. They are learning to move away from finding the answers and towards wrangling a deep meaning that is applicable to their own lives. I get to see their intellect flourish and their confidence in the power of their voice grow. I love how genuinely rewarding teaching is for both the mind and the spirit.

Which Hiawatha Academies’ core value do you feel best represents you?
I feel the value “we push ourselves to improve” is the core value that best represents me. It is what allows me to become better for my students and it is what allows me to push my students to be better for themselves!

How does your classroom reflect your personality?
I’m a serious thinker. I ponder the issues of the world. I’m constantly drawing connections between seemingly disparate things. I think this is what I ask my students to do every day. My favorite thing to say to students is “dig deeper.” At the beginning of the year, I always receive blank stares, but by the end of the year, my students find themselves telling each other to “dig deeper” in their discussion circles. They now think to ask whether an object could symbolize a greater idea; they also now mimic the “mmm” noise I make when a student says something wonderful that gets us thinking. I think my classroom feels like a place where creative thinking should happen, which reflects who I am as a person.