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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