Madisyn Mettenburg ’19 Awarded Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship in South Korea

May 15, 2019
Phoebe Pan ’20
Photo of Madisyn Mettenburg seated, posing outside of the Conservatory of Music library
Madisyn Mettenburg ’19 Photo credit: Tanya Rosen-Jones ’97

Madisyn Mettenburg ’19, a creative writing and politics double major, has been awarded a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship (ETA) in South Korea.

During her time at Oberlin, Mettenburg has been involved with the Arts and Sciences Orchestra, the Oberlin Review, and is a major representative for the Creative Writing Program.

Her decision to apply for a Fulbright ETA arose out of several interactions with professors at Oberlin. “It’s sort of funny, because for so long I was violently opposed to the idea of becoming a teacher, and yet the best experiences I’ve had at Oberlin have been me learning how to teach,” Mettenburg says. “I’ve learned so much being a teaching assistant for creative writing faculty Abbey Chung and Sylvia Watanabe, and this fall I took Lynn Powell’s Teaching Imaginative Writing course. This was an incredible experience—not only because I got to teach outside of the college setting and help middle schoolers express themselves during a time in their lives when it’s vitally important—but also because it showed me just how much work goes into teaching a single lesson.”

Mettenburg has never been to South Korea, and she looks forward to the opportunity to travel. “A Fulbright seemed like the perfect way to go abroad, engage in a community in a meaningful way, and gain some much-needed perspective. Specifically, I’m excited to bring poetry to the classroom; I know that education in South Korea is incredibly rigorous and students often feel overwhelmed by parental and societal expectations. I hope that I can help show them, cliche as it is, that learning can be fun, and expressing themselves can be part of a good education. I’m going to arm myself with some Shel Silverstein and see what happens.”

Mettenburg is also hoping to work in a previously established Fulbright program that interacts with defectors from North Korea. “For me, the whole point of teaching English is to help put voices that haven’t previously been heard onto a bigger, global stage, and these people have stories that the world needs to hear—for their sake and for ours.”

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