About sixteen years ago, I heard a rumor about a school that celebrated its first day by circling up their students in a hay field. After visiting Compass, I was sold by the close community and thoughtful, wise way its mission plays out, so I moved in my teaching files in the fall of 2002. Since then I have happily served as high school Humanities/English teacher, senior project facilitator, library guru, mural/public art facilitator, trip leader, and high school advisor. For the past several years, I’ve also guided seniors through the college application and post-Compass planning process. I’m proud of the record we have in helping Compass students find the right college fit and earn scholarships in order to attend.
I began teaching in Athens, Ohio twenty-three years ago as a graduate student working toward a master’s in literature. From there, I moved to Boston, where I taught writing, ESL, and literature in a variety of college settings. I also began my life as a mother; my daughter was born in 1993, and my son in 2001. After my stint as an adjunct, I returned to school to become certified to teach high school. At Tufts University (and Cambridge Rindge and Latin, where I was a student teacher), I was excited to learn that all kinds of creativity were required to reach high school students.
At Compass, I teach writing, literature, U.S. history, and film-making–but mostly I teach students how to communicate well and how to see from multiple perspectives. I love the long-term projects that charge students to plan an event that synthesizes their knowledge in a public venue–whether a living museum of the 1940′s, a film festival, or an exhibit of photography for social change. I strive to create a lively, productive, challenging classroom where students take control of their own learning, continue to find out who they are, while also enjoying literature, history, and the arts.
I am also a Compass parent. My daughter, who is now a senior at Kalamazoo College, learned at Compass how to take ownership of her education, how to be a world traveler, and how to lead with compassion and wisdom. My son, now a 9th grader at Compass, is thriving as a writer, athlete, and geek.
When I’m not teaching, I thrive on stories–the kinds in books, photographs, and movies, but I also love to plant flowers, make soup, work on my downward dog or zumba moves, and journal with as many colorful pens as I can muster.
You can read more about what I do in the classroom in my blog: theteacherawayfromherdesk.blogspot.com.
Julia Taylor :: High School Humanities, Advisor Class of 2017, College Counselor
M.A.T., Tufts University
M.A., Ohio University
B.A., New York University
Adjunct Online Instructor at New England College