(Updated: May 2023)

This page is the child of my teaching and my writing. Below you will find an introduction video, a teaching philosophy, and a curriculum vitae, along with lesson plans, resources, and a testimonial video made by my students. It is a snapshot of what I bring to the classroom — as well as who I am as a writer.



Teaching Philosophy


My teaching philosophy stands on the pillars of purpose, service, and authenticity.

Purpose, as defined by Merriam-Webster, is the aim or intention of something. In the classroom, it refers to “the goal” or “learning objective.” Purpose-driven educators plan a lesson by first writing a specific goal, and only then developing the meaningful activities that will tie to the outcome. This technique of working backwards cuts through so much of the difficulty of being a teacher, in fact, that authors Blake & Guillén illustrated how neither a pandemic nor the push for virtual education need bar old school educators from instructing new school learners: that is, instead of feeling overwhelmed by the countless digital tools available, we first recall the day’s objective, and only then utilize the appropriate tools (e.g. Mentimeter for engagement, Dotstorming for teamwork, and Slidesgo for presentations). In other words, focus on learning and the teaching follows, wherever it may lead, whatever the platform.

What makes the journey as valuable as the destination, however, is the second pillar. Service recalls the military, even hospitality. Yet education knows it as “student-centered teaching” or “critical pedagogy.” Its fierce advocate, Henry Giroux, reminds educators of one irrevocable truth: students are the next generation. It is for them that we struggle. We personalize a lesson to build upon existing knowledge; we parallel the student’s goal with the classroom’s, to progress together; and we treat students with respect, knowing they belong to a larger community, to which they must ultimately contribute their skills and originality. Unfortunately, some teachers just teach to cash a check, while some learners only learn to get a job. This mentality does the greatest disservice to everyone: teachers stop caring; students fall behind; meanwhile the institutions with the emptiest promises lose their way. Rather, what keeps institutions and educators true to their mission, and students on course, must be service.

Raising purpose and service to the level of the individual is Authenticity. Professor Brené Brown relates authenticity to “standing in your own truth,” but I would add that it is moving in your own truth too. In a language class, for example, when I teach the construction to make polite requests, I model it by politely requesting that students discuss scenarios where this may be useful to them. Before that, I may share an anecdote of when I failed to make a request polite, and then ask my students to share a similar story in pairs. In a writing class, I might finish a lesson on “supporting arguments” by prompting students to write supporting arguments to something important to them. I may even share a topic important to me, with supporting arguments, but then prompt the class to express their opinion and point out my contradictions, all in the name of offering my students a chance to exercise what we have learned, through an authentic learning experience.

Naturally, the three pillars are only a metaphor for my theories, methods, and activity as an educator. If my philosophy had to be distilled to its most direct expression, then it is like my mother, a career-long educator, taught me: “Students have a voice; you let them share it.” My voice helps other voices be heard. From atop all pillars.



Curriculum Vitae

 I believe in the power of language, in good education, and that creating art can save us.



Ph.D. in Spanish Creative Writing from the University of Houston, GPA: 3.97/4.0 est. May 2024

Sales Certificate from Pro Customer in Bucharest, Romania Feb 2020

M.F.A. in Creative Writing from the New School in New York City, GPA: 3.97/4.0 May 2018

Teaching Certificate for TESOL from World Learning SIT Feb 2015

B.A. in Philosophy from the University of Texas, GPA: 3.7/4.0 (magna cum laude) May 2013

Business Foundations minor from McCombs School of Business May 2013

Leadership Certificate from UT Leadership and Ethics Institute (exemplary level) Apr 2011



University Course Instructor, University of Houston (Main Campus) Aug 2023 – Current

  • Lead Spanish 1502, a five-hour introductory course for undergraduates, face-to-face
  • Craft lesson plans from 5 textbook units, covering simple present to irregular imperfect


Spanish Language Tutor, Department of Hispanic Studies (UH)  Aug 2023 – Current

  • Guide, advise and challenge undergraduate students to improve speaking/listening skills
  • Students of all levels, ages, and background; available by appt or walk-in, 5 hrs/week


Bilingual WITS Writer, Writers in the Schools (Houston, TX) Sept 2021 – Jun 2023

  • WITS mission is to bring the joy of creative writing to young learners
  • In-person instruction at HISD schools, teaching 2nd–3rd graders (4 classrooms / week)


Private Tutor, Self-Employed (Global) May 2019 – Jan 2023

  • Bespoke lessons for individuals, covering all language modalities/domains/registers
  • Online classes with former students, coworkers, and referrals (1–1.5hr sessions)


Storylines Instructor, Wonderworks at UH (Houston, TX) Summer 2022

  • Cotaught a 5-week, college-prep course for intellectually-curious students (aged 14–18)
  • Read, discussed, and analyzed early and modern American literature, as well as films


Bilingual Instruction Specialist, A Yancy Life (Houston, TX) Jan 2021 – Jun 2021

  • Engaged virtual & F2F students, ages 5–14, in public school classrooms
  • Raised the state test scores from failing to passing for dozens of disadvantaged students


English Teacher, New York Language Center (New York, NY) Aug 2016 – May 2019

  • Taught adult immigrants, residents, and visa-students, both in group classes and 1-1
  • Became one of the most valued teachers, presenting workshops to fellow instructors


University Teaching Assistant, The New School (New York, NY) Jan 2018 – May 2018

  • For an Associate Professor of Religion in a weekly 80+ student seminar
  • Additionally, led a weekly 1.5hr discussion section to 20 students in a lecture room


Substitute Teacher, LCI Language Center (Houston, TX) Feb 2015 – May 2015



Research Fellow, Arte Público Press (Houston, Texas) Sept 2021 – Aug 2023

  • Recuperated, preserved, distributed US-Latino texts through the Recovery Project
  • Drafted posts and translated essays for the Recovery Blog and various database platforms
  • Researched, wrote, and translated biographies as well as transcribed classic and contemporary poetry for the Puerto Rican Literature Project

Research Assistant, Parsons School of Design (New York, NY) Aug 2016 – Dec 2016

  • Reviewed the quality of two Design & Management professors’ published thesis
  • Facilitated bi-weekly meetings with other assistants to reach our writing goals



Editorial assistant, Arte Público Press (Houston, Texas) Sept 2021 – Aug 2023

  • Directly assisted executive editor with publishing the over 30 titles per year
  • Translated, line edited, copy edited, proofread and commented on author manuscripts


Operational Manager, Eucom Business Language (Bucharest, Romania) Aug 2019 – Dec 2020

  • Responsible for the language assessment platform, and relations with over 30 clients
  • Managed a team of 47 assessors in 32 languages, assessing 1,500+ candidates / month


Public and Graduate Events Organizer, The New School (New York, NY) 2016 – 18

Bookseller, Barnes & Noble (Houston, TX) 2016

Box Office Representative, The Long Center (Austin, TX) 2014

Show Production Assistant, KUTX Austin – 98.9 FM (Austin, TX) 2013

Executive Producer, Texas Student Television (Austin, TX) 2012 – 13

Production Manager, KVRX Austin – 91.7 FM (Austin, TX) 2012 – 13

Loading Dock Receptionist, Texas Performing Arts (Austin, TX) 2011 – 13

Artist Manager, The Abstract (Austin, TX) 2011 – 12



Volunteer, Community Archive Event with USLDH Recovery and LULAC (Houston, TX) 2022

Volunteer, Cougar Cupboard at University of Houston (Houston, TX) 2021

Volunteer, Brooklyn Book Festival (Brooklyn, NY)  2016 – 18

Volunteer, New York Poetry Festival (New York, NY) 2018

Volunteer, Austin Pets Alive! (Austin, TX) 2014

Festival Intern for Latin Music, South By Southwest (Austin, TX) 2011 – 14

Marketing Intern, Emmis Austin Radio (Austin, TX) 2012

Volunteer, Fun Fun Fun Music Festival (Austin, TX) 2011 – 12

Student DJ, KVRX 91.7 FM (Austin, TX) 2011 – 12

Social Media Intern, Grounded in Music (Austin, TX) 2011



Hispanic Studies Department, UH – Translation of Houston Poet Laureate, recognition 2023

Institute for Global Engagement – Lost in Translation Open Mic, third place 2023

University of Houston – Graduate School Fund, full-ride scholarship, one year 2023

Houston Arts Alliance – Support for Artists and Creative Individuals Grant, full amt. 2023

Hispanic Studies Department, UH – Graduate Student Spotlight 2023

Corda Foundation Awards Program – Winner for Best Translation 2022

University of Houston – Cullen Graduate Fellowship Travel Grant, full amount 2022

New Millennium Writing Award – International Literary Award, finalist 2021

Pushcart – Short Story Prize, nomination 2021

Pen America Literary – Robert J. Dau Emerging Writer Prize, nomination 2021

Kundiman National Nonprofit – Workshop Scholarship, full tuition 2021

University of Houston – Graduate Tuition Fellowship, full-ride fellowship, four years 2021

Vera List Center Writing Award, New SchoolCampus-wide Award, second place 2017

Artlines2 Ekphrastic Competition, Public Poetry – National Poetry Award, finalist 2015

Dean of Liberal Arts, University of Texas, Recognition of Exemplary Academics 2013

Texas Student Media, University of Texas – Producer of the Year Award 2013

South Central Regional NBS – 1st Place in Studio or Live Performance for TV Episode 2012

University of Texas – Leadership Series Certificate, exemplary status 2010



Panelist, Scholarship Without Borders Conference (Houston, TX / online) 2022

Attendee, Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Heritage Conference (Houston, TX) 2022

Panelist, 29th International Congress of Hispanic Studies and Literature (San Juan, PR) 2022

Attendee, 55th Conference Day by ALTE (Istanbul, Turkey / online) 2020

Attendee, 7th Annual by Association of Business Service Leaders (Bucharest, Romania) 2019

Attendee, 54th Conference Day by ALTE (Ljubljana, Slovenia) 2019

Attendee, People Empowering Business Forum (Bucharest, Romania) 2019

Attendee, Pop-up Poetry by Cave Canem during Caribbean Carnival (Brooklyn, NY) 2018

Attendee, Brooklyn Book Festival (Brooklyn, NY) 2016 – 18

Student Organizer, National Book Award (New York, NY) 2017, 18

Student Organizer, PEN World Voices (New York, NY) 2017, 18

Attendee, Literary Writers Conference, by Slice Magazine (Brooklyn, NY) 2016, 17

Attendee, Feria del libro (Buenos Aires, Argentina) 2016

Festival Intern for Latin Music, South by Southwest (Austin, Texas) 2011 – 14



*Writers in the School Spring Writers Meeting, one day: Select and Leverage Mentor Texts 2023

QPR Institute, Suicide Prevention Workshop, one day: Question, Persuade, Refer 2023

*Miles Ahead Scholars Forging Week Program, four days: Unpack the Imagination 2022

*Miles Ahead Scholars Writing Conference workshop, one day: Find Your Voice 2022

Hispanic Studies, Master Class with Amaranta Caballero: Edición e impresión 2022

Hispanic Studies, Master Class with Marc Caellas: Es difícil caminar una ciudad sin amor 2022

Hispanic Studies, Master Class with Pedro Gutiérrez: Cómo escribir un artículo académico 2021

Kundiman literary workshop with Vu Tran, one day: What is Character? 2021

Inprint, 6-week workshop with Adele Williams: Teachers as Writers, Non-Fiction 2021

Inprint, 4-week workshop with Raquel Abend: Multi-genre Workshop in Spanish 2021

*Eucom Corporate Solutions, three iterations: Holiday Webinar – Travel to New York 2020

ALTE Ad-hoc Workshop, two days: Validity and the CEFR 2020

*Eucom Corporate Solutions, one day: Evolving the Assessment System 2019

*New York Language Center, one day: Teach Writing with the Five Senses 2019

*New York Language Center, one day: Effective Icebreakers to Build Community 2018

New School, Master Class with Susan Shapiro: The First-Person Essay 2018

New School, Master Class with Camille Rankine: What Words Can’t Say 2017

New School, Master Class with Brody and Lambert: The Lifecycle of a Book 2017

New York Language Center, one day: Going Beyond the Classroom 2017

New School, Master Class with Andrea Pinkney: Writing Cross-Culturally 2017

New School, Master Class with Frederic Tuten: Radical Approaches to Fiction 2016

New School, Master Class with Brett Rawson: Launch Pad, writing off the page 2016

New School, Master Class with LB Thompson: Hybrid Project, text and image 2016

New School, Master Class with Daphne Merkin: On Life Writing 2016

Skidmore College’s Summer Writers Institute, two weeks: Advanced Fiction 2015

Houston Writers Guild workshop, one day: Writing Through Darkness 2014

Texas Writers League workshop, one day: Writing With a Sense of Place 2013

(*=workshops I planned and led)



Speaker, Hispanic Studies Department, UH Poetry Showcase and Translation Discussion 2023

Speaker, Institute for Global Engagement, Lost in Translation Contest 2023

Reader, Inprint, Comité Permanente Fall Open Mic (Houston, TX) 2023

Reader, Inprint, Comité Permanente Spring Open Mic (Houston, TX) 2023

Reader, Café Con Libros, New Voices Reading Series (Brooklyn, NY) 2019

Reader, Berl’s Poetry Shop, open mic (Brooklyn, NY) 2018

Reader, KGB Red Room, reading series (New York, NY) 2016 – 18

Reader, New School Creative Writing Program, monthly readings (New York, NY) 2016 – 18

Reader, The Heights Neighborhood Library, open mic (Houston, TX) 2014

Reader, Le Rouge Boutique, young writers night (Austin, TX) 2013




Awake & Asleep, currently being considered for publication est. 2024

They Lived They Were at Brighton Beach, Kindle Direct Publishing (print, ebook) 2020

The Summer Abroad: el viaje de egresados, Kindle Direct Publishing (print, ebook) 2018



“The Trouble with Speed,” short story in Litbreak (online) 2023

“Singapore,” novel excerpt on Eunoia (online) 2023

“Waste,” short story in Sky Is Land Journal (online) 2023

“One of the Last Strolls North,” flash piece on The Purpled Nail (online) 2022

“The Drop,” novel excerpt in Revolution John (online) 2021

“Knowing When to Quit,” short story on Wilderness (online) 2021

“Blanco Brown,” flash fiction in Tilted House (print) 2021

“Grozny,” short story in Copperfield Review (print) 2021

“Stepping Out of a Club in Prague…” novel excerpt on Corev.ink (online) 2021

“Draught of Munchen,” novel excerpt on Malarky Books (online) 2021

“Snow Impatient,” flash fiction in Bureau of Complaint (online) 2021

“Orpheus and Eurydice,” novel excerpt on The Lily Café (online) 2020



“Todo sobre mi Quentin: Por qué Tarantino Admira Almodóvar,” Suburbano (online) 2023

“Los muertos le dictan a Ariel Dorfman,” Suburbano (online) 2022

“Dos odas al idioma español . . .” Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Heritage (online) 2021

“Twelve YouTube Channels,” Bookshine&Readbows (online) 2020

“Bad is Bad and Bad is Good,” Eucom Blog (online) 2020

“How to Apologize to Your Father in Spanish,” The Acentos Review (online) 2018

“A Short Autobiography,” NYLC Blog (online) 2018



“Oda a tu voz” / “Ode to your voice,” Latino Book Review (print) 2022

“July to August,” American Scholar (featured online) 2018

“Brave Bukowski,” Calypso Editions Poetry Anthology, Houston Poet Laureate (print) 2017

“Adorned Inscription,” Artlines Poetry Anthology, Museum of Fine Arts Houston (print) 2015



Five poems by David Rosennman-Taub (Tílimtilín, 2022), on Asymptote (online) 2022



“Awake & Asleep,” novel adaptation (directed and co-written by Rosarito Rodríguez) 2023



Interviewee, “Five Questions with Iván Brave,” The New School Writing Blog (online) 2019

Interviewer, “Where Language Meets Learning . . .,” NYLC Blog (online) 2018

Interviewee, “Interview with Iván Brave,” The Cosy Dragon (online) 2018

Interviewer, “A Student Shares Her Thoughts . . .,” NYLC Blog (online) 2017

Interviewer “A Conversation . . .,” NYLC Blog (online) 2017

Interviewee, “Local Live . . .” The Daily Texan (print, online) 2012


Publicity & Promotion

Contributor, “The Unassessed Life: Why We Assess at Eucom,” Eucom (online) 2020

Contributor, “Sounds from the World Showcases,” SXSW (online) 2014

Contributor, “Cafe Tacvba Showcase on Auditorium Shores,” SXSW (online) 2013

Contributor, “Latin Music Press Release,” SXSW (online) 2012



Writer/Producer/Voice, “SoundSpace at the Blanton Museum of Art,” KUTX (online) 2013

Writer/Producer/Voice, “Ditch the Fest 2013,” KUTX (online) 2013

Executive Producer/Writer, all aired episodes of Local Live, KVRX (FM) 2012 – 13



Writer/Voice, “Agile Learning Journey,” for Eucom (online) 2020

Writer/Director/Actor, “How to Speak Assertively,” for Eucom (online) 2020

Writer/Producer, “Thre3style DJ Competition in Austin,” for RedBull (online) 2013


Music and Lyrics

Co-Writer/Producer, “Black Beauty (Cacophony Edit),” for a rock band, The Abstract 2012


Personal Blog (you’re here!)

Visit www.ivanbrave.com for regular posts, news, and more 2015 – Current



SIELE for native Spanish speakers (Total 930/1000) 2019

New SAT for high schoolers (Total 1300/1600) 2016

GRE for graduate schools (Verbal 160, Quantitative 156, Writing 4.0) 2015

GMAT for graduate business schools (Total 680/800) 2013



Computer Skills: MS Office, FileMaker, ProTools, Ableton, Audition, Photoshop, PC & MAC

Languages: L1 Bilingual Native in English & Spanish; L2 French; L3 Romanian & Russian

First-hand experience: The Americas, Western/Central/Eastern Europe, Japan, Southeast Asia


____THANK YOU____

 “When you have trouble getting out of bed in the morning, remember that your defining characteristic—what defines a human being—is to work with others.”        —Marcus Aurelius

Let’s work together.



Sample Lesson Plans

Effective Ice Breakers to Build Classroom Community

This lesson was built for my colleagues at New York Language Center, for a professional development I lead, demonstrating three ice breaker activities I use with success in the classroom.


“What, How, and Why we Talk”: Day 1 of 4 English Lesson for Intermediate

My lessons follow the ECRIF model, which always include all learning modalities, and begin with the learning outcome. This particular lesson was the Monday lesson, which lay the foundation for the rest of the week. Critical thinking, multimedia, and presidential speeches.


Using the Five Tenses

This is a 4-part story about a dog looking for a friend, which I wrote, and employs one tense at a time. It can be used for reading, or grammar practice — in either case the final activity is for students to write the end, using only the future tense. I use it sometimes as a summative exam at the end of an 8-week course. And funny enough, it is my most popular post on this website . . .


Nuestros Pintores Favoritos

This Spanish language lesson is a Pre-During-Post activity on a reading about the Colombian artist Fernando Botero. It can be adapt to any Spanish level and used in a classroom or virtually. Detailed lesson plan at the end.


Cosas Imposibles

This is a Spanish language lesson, geared to get the students thinking about impossible things (subjunctive) and deepest wishes. For culture, it utilizes one of the most celebrated rock-pop songs from Argentina. If the lesson format appears simple, that is because I whipped it for my Spanish Acquisition course at the University of Houston!


Saludar y responder: actividad para principiantes

Another Spanish language lesson, from my Spanish Acquisition course. It’s a 5-minute video on my Author Page on YouTube. And I had so much fun making it.



Zoom-Friendly Warmups and Icebreakers

More Icebreaker Inspiration

A great presentation engagement tool, Mentimeter

A powerful homework tool, for integrated video/voice replies as well as comments, Flipgrid

My go-to for creating colorful and design-savvy presentations, Slidego

My go-to for royalty-free professional photos of every kind, Pexels

Hand-picked videos for Spanish instruction, from my Author YouTube page

Culturally relevant video materials, Langmedia

A compendium of front page articles, Today’s Front Page

Authentic support materials from teachers around the world, Merlot

Paid service for conversations with native speakers, TalkAbroad

More language exchange apps, from FluentU, a wonderful website for L2 learning

Real-time group brainstorming app, Dotstorming

Virtual whiteboard, Jamboard

New York Times Writing Prompts – Argumenative

New York Times Writing Prompts – Narrative

My go-to conjugation dictionary and thesauraus, Wordreference

The authoritative source for the Spanish Language, La Real Academia

“Lessons worth sharing” and lesson creator app, TedEd