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Urban Scholar Masha Wasilewsky

Masha WasilewskiDespite trying many different careers, Masha Wasilewsky, of Boston, kept coming back to education. "Ever since the realization that I wanted to be a teacher, teaching has been a driving force of focus in my life," she says. "I've enjoyed doing it, and always look for ways I can keep learning and improving." Teaching has taken Wasilewsky to Italy, Thailand, and New York. When she heard about the Arts in Education Program at HGSE, Wasilewsky knew it would be a good fit. "I am an English teacher, but have been involved in the arts, especially with music, in the schools where I have worked," she says. "I think that English is well-suited as a subject for the arts to be infused into English teaching, and that, in general, the arts can provide engaging learning 'hooks' for students."

What does it mean to you to be an Urban Scholar?
I was thrilled when I found out that I was an Urban Scholar. I was in Thailand when I found out. It's been so great getting to meet such a dynamic and interesting group of people, and having this year during which to study, learn, and reflect.

What are your thoughts on teaching in an urban school today?
I think that urbans can be very innovative places full of proactive energy and committed teachers. This is, I think, a very exciting time to be working in urban schools. When I was working in the Bronx, I was inspired by the creativity and drive of the people around me, staff and students. The people I worked with were passionate about figuring out the best possible ways to engage and support students.

What would you change about education today?
This definitely makes sense given that I'm in the Arts in Education Program, but I think that the arts have such potential for developing students as hard-working, creative, aesthetically sensitive human beings. I am glad that there is a push at the moment for increasing the presence of the arts in all schools, and I think that it is crucially important that schools are places where students' creativity is fostered.