Noah Brennan-Sawyer, Humanities Teacher, was raised on the campus of an alternative high school in southern Vermont. There, he developed a deep appreciation for its holistic educational philosophy, as well as a great love for being in the woods with friends. Given these loves, he chose to go to college in an unfamiliar setting, New York City, where he received his B.A. in history and psychology from Columbia University.
After a couple of years away from schools, Noah began teaching Humanities at an alternative day school outside of Boston. While teaching or tutoring everything from Plato to pre-calculus, what he loved most were the eccentric learners and both the challenges and rewards of the eclectic classrooms of which he was a part. Furthermore, he appreciated that he was able to see each student each day, developing relationships that extended beyond the classroom, but that helped inform those discussions as well. Wanting to better understand and to improve his practice, Noah took on his own studies while continuing to teach, completing an Ed.M. in learning and teaching at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.
After a long sojourn in the city, Noah is excited to be back in the woods and to be part of the Oliverian community.
What do you love most about Oliverian?
“What I love most about Oliverian is its commitment to the dignity of every student. Those of us that make up the Oliverian faculty believe that every student, no matter what their learning profile or history, deserves schooling that accommodates them, not only as learners, but as whole individuals, rather than expecting and demanding that they reduce the resplendent complexity of their individuality into some preconceived and static schema of intelligence or success.”
What motivates you to work with (or in proximity to) kids?
“What I love about working with students is watching them realize and then wrestle with all of the influences that have led them to believe what they believe. What I especially love is when students stand in the face of those who are trying to inculcate values in them, myself sometimes included, and declare their right to personal autonomy and self-realization.”