Passionate about writing, it was natural that we asked Ivan to become a regular contributor to the schools' blog. As one of his first posts, Ivan explores his reasons for becoming a teacher. Welcome back to the team, Ivan!
A short autobiography of Iván Brave, a New York Language Center English Instructor.
By: Ivan Brave
Before any class, I always stand in front of the mirror in the bathroom of the Upper West Side school. There I wash my hands from the subway ride, I splash my face with water, and I take a few deep breaths. Breathing helps me wake up. "Why are you here?” I ask. "Why?" And I walk into class, knowing the answer.
It all began in 2015, when TESOL certified me as a teacher. No, no. Before that. It all began with a conversation I had with my mother, herself a teacher, when she suggested I follow in her footsteps. No, no. Even before that.
We must travel back in time. We must travel far out west. To hot and humid Houston, Texas.
My sophomore year of high school I took a class that changed my life. Everyone I know has at least one class that changed their life. For me it was my Theater class. Acting, improv, plays, play fighting, singing, art. My teacher was so wild and cool. During the day he would teach, while at night he would act professionally.
He taught me about American theater, about European theater, and a little about Japanese theater. But most importantly he taught me that you can follow your passion while still helping others find their passion. You can be a professional actor, for example, and help others express their inner actor.
Today I do what my theater teacher did, not with theater, but with language.
Fast-forward. I earn a Bachelor’s in Philosophy from the University of Texas in Austin. I travel around the world, to see friends in Southeast Asia, to visit family in Patagonia. I earn a Master’s in Fine Arts for Creative Writing from The New School. Why so many trips and degrees? Because I have always chased my dreams, personally and professionally. I believe it is important for our goals and our passions to work together. So I teach in the morning, and write at night.
Our meaning, purpose, reason, and feeling can paint one big glorious dawn—one that gets you out of bed in the morning. But what has helped me the most between chasing one dream to the next is always asking “Why?”
Why did I study philosophy? Why do I write? Because I love it. And love is sometimes the only answer you need.
Why do I teach? Why am I here? To help you. Simple as that. Maybe you want a higher education. Maybe you want a better job. Maybe you just want to feel confident the next time you buy someone a drink. Whatever your dream is, I will show up to help you wake up. Wake up literally, wake up a dream, wake up a little, wake up a lot.
After a long day of work, it is nice to come home and rest. Rest is sweet. But draw the blinds, and open your eyes: why, why. Why am I here? Why are you?
That is the question, and my answer always the same. How about you?