Teaching as an International Student

Teaching as an international student takes a lot of hard work and figuring out. As international graduate students, we often jungle many unknowns when we engage CUNY classrooms, classrooms that may look and feel quite different from the ones to which we have been habituated. We might  know little about our students’ previous educational experiences, their cultural and academic worlds, the U.S based university system as a whole and the CUNY system in particular. Some of us, are teaching as non-native speakers of English for the first time which can be hard. Figuring out what kind of instructors we can and want to be, how to communicate clearly, how to best engage our students, how to be helpful during office hours and how to give useful feedback  can amount to an overwhelming load of work, but you don’t need to do it alone ! Join colleagues from the Teaching and Learning Center for a workshop where we will share and explore strategies that can help graduate student instructors to figure out how to best do our work in collaboration with our students and graduate center peers.

Inspired by the work of Paulo Freire in “Pedagogy of the Oppressed”, together we will re-think our current pedagogical practices and the usefulness of teaching against the banking model of education. In this workshop, we will explore  anti-hierarchical pedagogical strategies that can help us put Freire’s ideas into practice as we strive to build classroom environments where students and instructors work together to  design syllabi, group projects and rubrics that can allow us to give each other helpful feedback and grow as collaborative learners.

This workshop was offered in Spring 2017, Spring 2018, Fall 2018, and Spring 2019 as an in-person workshop at the Graduate Center, CUNY. The workshop and materials were developed by Anke Geertsma and Lais Duarte.


All materials on this page and in the linked google folder are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike (CC-BY-SA) 4.0 International Public License.

This folder contains outreach materials, workshop plans, handouts and slides for each semester.

Materials Folder: Teaching as an International Student Workshop

Workshop Plan

Introductions 15 min-30 min.

    • Name, Campus, teaching experience, needs and wants from the workshop.

The Participatory Classroom

PART I – PEDAGOGICAL PRACTICES 60 min. (Check Prompts)

  • Format: Participants divided up in between 2 groups, each group has one facilitator.  First 10 minutes brainstorming and discussion, followed by 10 mins devoted to facilitators sharing resources/strategies and constructive response.


  • Format: Participants divided up in between 2 groups, each group has one facilitator.  First 10 minutes participants write down what makes a classroom environment invite collaboration/ participation. Followed by 10 mins devoted to re-arranging our workshop space invite such atmosphere. Followed by 10 minutes of sharing with the group concrete strategies for re-arranging the classrooms where we  currently work.


Format:  Participants are invited to share suggestions for upcoming workshops.