My teaching at the university level is informed by formal training as an elementary school teacher and several years of work with unconventional student populations: After high school, I worked for a year as a Teacher’s Associate in the Des Moines Public Schools, serving middle school students who had been diagnosed with behavioral disorders. I received an Elementary Education Teaching Certificate from Grinnell College after a semester of student teaching at Sac & Fox Elementary School (a school serving students of the Meskwaki Tribe in Tama County, Iowa). From 2002 to 2004 I worked with “returnee” students (kikokushijo—Japanese children who had lived overseas and were reintegrating into Japanese society) at a private academy in Tokyo, helping them maintain facility in the English they had acquired abroad through lessons in language arts, science, and social studies. I later earned awards for my work as a graduate teaching assistant while at Princeton University, and I have reflected on teaching in essays for publications like Sacred Matters.
At the University of Pennsylvania I teach courses on religion with titles such as “The Religion of Anime,” “Sects and Violence,” “The Politics of Shinto,” and “Violence, Tolerance, and Freedom.” While my training is in the humanistic field of religious studies, many of my courses include readings by social scientists such as anthropologists, geographers, and sociologists. Indeed, some of my courses are cross-listed with Anthropology, and most satisfy requirements for the EALC major. You can see some sample video syllabi for courses below.