Melissa Mirza

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Mirza, Melissa
Literature

Biography

Undergraduate institution: UC Irvine

Current employer/position: Currently teaching at San Francisco University High School (private, independent school)

I teach 9th grade English as well as semester long seminars of my design for 11th and 12th graders (Literature of Imprisonment, Gothic Lit, Borderlands, Construction of Self, Black in America). I'm also the 12th grade mentor coach for my school, which is similar to 12th grade dean. I also founded an education organization called Bay Area Middle Eastern Educators, a local affinity space with a national purpose. The mission of the organization is to challenge the current negative and singular image the West has of the Middle East by promoting Middle Eastern curricula across disciplines and grade levels and sharing personal narratives as well as to create support structures for educators and students of Middle Eastern descent.

The grad program really gave me the tools and lenses I use in my classroom today to teach students how to close read themselves and the world around them, not just literature. It also exposed me to a broad range of literature and theoretical texts, many of which I now teach. Basically, it upped my analytical game by sharpening my critical thinking and writing skills immensely. Being a TA was my first stab at grading and leading a class discussion and really infused my love of being part of a classroom community. I learned a lot from the different professors who took the time to share their pedagogy with the TA's as well as the students in the classes. I TA'ed for a professor who kept me on my toes, both intellectually and emotionally.