In order to share more of our amazing community here at SD, we offer this weekly #FacesOfSD to give you a chance to learn more about our faculty and staff. Today, we are thrilled to introduce Aran Levasseur, Upper School Global Studies Teacher.
Q. Full name?
A. Aran Levasseur
Q. Favorite word?
Q. What do you do here at San Domenico? And what is your favorite part of your job?
A. I teach Global Studies, Sacred Texts, and Philosophy electives. I enjoy designing curriculum and learning environments that foster W.B. Yeats’s educational philosophy, “education is not the filling of a pail, but rather the lighting of a fire.”
Q. Which Dominican value inspires you the most this week and why? (Study, Reflection, Community, or Service?)
A. Reflection inspires me most weeks because I find it a necessary antidote to the warp speed of our times. I generally find these more contemplative moments on long walks or sitting in nature.
Q. What might an average weekend look like, for you?
A. An average weekend will start on Friday evening at Ghiringhelli’s Pizzeria in Fairfax with my family. Then we will go to the beach on Saturday or Sunday (our favorite is Limantour in Pt. Reyes). I’ll hopefully go for a hike (I love the west side of Mt. Tam). I’ll likely read at night. I’m currently reading The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon, The Path: What Chinese Philosophers Can Teach Us About the Good Life by Michael Puett and Christine Gross-Loh, and Cicero: The Life and Times of Rome’s Greatest Politician by Anthony Everitt. And if the Warrior’s are playing then I’ll definitely watch the game.
Q. List 1-3 of your most significant personal accomplishments, to date.
A. I’ve had a wide range of experiences and accomplishments that are personally meaningful to me and it’s hard to put them in hierarchical order. So I’ll just do the stream-of-consciousness thing and list whatever pops into my mind first: being the father of a spirited two-year old, traveling to India with my wife (highlights include trekking in the Himalayas, exploring the Ghats of Varanasi, and visiting Sarnath, where Buddha gave his first sermon after his enlightenment), and traveling throughout Central America for five months.
Q. List 1-3 of your most significant professional and/or academic accomplishments, to date.
A. It’s difficult to say. The accomplishments that probably provide the best insight into my educational philosophy are 15 or so articles I’ve written for PBS and other publications about the intersection of education and technology, and a TEDx talk I gave about Video Games and Learning. My most enjoyable academic accomplishment was probably making an ethnographic film as an undergraduate Anthropology student about Saint Patrick’s Day in Chico. The key to ethnographic research is participant/observation.
Q. What was your best, professional "I wish someone had seen this" moment?
A. One of my favorite professional moments was when I was working in the middle school and my classes were learning about Taoism. To gain a more experiential understanding of Taoism we all created Andy Goldsworthy inspired environmental art around campus to explore concepts such as Li (patterns in nature) and Wu Wei (effortless action). Witnessing the students mindfully immersed in the natural world and how this experience cultivated such a peaceful affect was rewarding.
Aran, from your inspiring design thinking, to the rich conversations you engage in with your colleagues and students, to your guidance around mindfulness, and your collegial manner, thank you for all you bring to our SD family. We are grateful to have you in our community!