Portfolio

(Updated: Dec 2021)

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. May it serve as a snapshot of what I could bring to a 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 proposed 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.

What makes the journey as valuable as the destination, however, is the second pillar. Service beings to mind 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, so as 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—yet 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.

Brining service and purpose to the level of the individual is Authenticity. University of Houston 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 my 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.

 

EDUCATION

PhD in Spanish Creative Writing from the University of Houston, est. May 2025

MFA in Creative Writing from The New School, GPA: 3.97/4.0, May 2018

Teaching Certificate TESOL from World Learning SIT, Feb 2015

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

 

TEACHING EXPERIENCE

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 of dozens of underprivileged students, from failing to passing

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

RESEARCH EXPERIENCE

Research Fellow / Editorial assistant, Arte Público Press (Houston, Texas), Sept 2021 – Current

  • Directly assist executive editor with publishing the over 30 titles per year
  • Recuperate, preserve, & distribute Hispanic American texts through the Recovery Project

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

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

 

PROFESSONAL & VOLUNTEER EXPERIENCE

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

Bookseller, Barnes & Noble (Houston, TX) , 2016

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

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

Volunteer, Austin Pets Alive! (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

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

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

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

 

SCHOLARSHIPS, FELLOWSHIPS, & AWARDS

Workshop Scholarship – Kundiman National Nonprofit, Full Tuition, 2021

Graduate Tuition Fellow – The University of Houston, Full-ride Fellowship, 2021

The Vera List Center for Arts and PoliticsCampus-wide writing award, Second Place, 2017

Artlines2 Ekphrastic Poetry Competition – Nation-wide poetry award, Finalist, 2015

The University of Texas – from the Dean, Recognition of Exemplary Academics, 2013

Texas Student Media – Producer of the Year Award, 2013

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

The University of Texas – Leadership Series Certificate (Exemplary Status), 2010

 

CONFERENCES & FESTIVALS

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, 17, 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

WORKSHOPS

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, 3 times: “Holiday Webinar – Travel to New York”, 2020

ALTE Ad-hoc Workshop, two-day: “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

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

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

The 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

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

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

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

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

The 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 led)

 

READINGS

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

 

PUBLICATIONS

Novels

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

Fiction

“The Drop,” novel excerpt in Revolution John (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

Essays

“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

 Poetry

“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

Interviews

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

Radio

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

Video

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

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

 

TESTS

SIELE (Total 930/1000), 2019

New SAT (Total 1300/1600), 2016

GRE (Verbal 160, Quantitative 156, Writing 4.0), 2015

GMAT (Total 680/800), 2013

 

ADDITIONAL INFO

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

Languages: L1 Bilingual 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.

 

Resources

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

 

Testimonial