I am a teacher and podcaster originally from Tacoma, Washington, thirty miles south of Seattle. I’m in my fourteenth year in the classroom. Currently, I teach AP US Government & Politics and Global Studies at the American Community School in Abu Dhabi, where my wife and I relocated to, in August of 2019. I love traveling and decided to move to the Middle East in an attempt to blend my two loves: teaching young people and traveling the world. I’m a decorated teacher in the states. In 2014, I received the Milken Foundation’s National Educator Award. In 2016, I was named the Washington State Teacher of the Year, and that same year, I was one of four finalists for National Teacher of the Year. I am also a writer; I’ve been published in Slate Magazine, the Washington Post and the Seattle Times and have been interviewed on CNN International, PBS and CBS.
My podcast, the Nerd Farmer, is a bi-weekly interview show about my wandering curiosities: books, politics, housing policy, philosophy, education… sometimes soccer. The title of the show references my instructional philosophy. It is my job to get kids to ‘nerd-out’ about the world in order to become better, more informed global citizens. I honestly dislike many education podcasts because they pretend that education happens in isolation, rather than being impacted by forces like housing, healthcare access, and government stability, so I try to make sure my show is interdisciplinary. Nerd Farmer is at its best when my audience and I are learning from experts in their fields. Since the show launched in 2017, I’ve interviewed 2019 World Cup MVP Megan Rapinoe, members of Congress, university presidents and dozens of professors and journalists. My goal each episode is to learn more about something I’m interested in, give someone whom I respect a platform to share their views and to try to make the audience think about a topic differently, all while laughing (when possible).
I think it is important for educators to create our own content and to have our own blogs and podcasts so we can tell our stories on our terms. There are so many myths floating in society about what is happening in schools and what students and teachers need or should be doing in our classrooms. Controlling our own platforms means we get to tell the public our own stories, on our own terms. It’s a way of empowering and humanising educators. We need more of that.