Scholar Stories: Michelle López-Chappuis

How do you use writing or art in your life?

Writing has always been an intimate way for me to explore my thoughts, make sense of old and new ideas, and see the world differently. Whether that be through sharing on Twitter to capture the learning adventures happening in the classroom or jotting away in my writer’s notebook, writing is essential to my soul. I write to reveal what is truly important to my heart and what I want the world to see.

What lessons/teachings from your family, home and/or community do you draw on in your teaching and/or scholarship?

Growing up, I was not a traditional student in many of my teachers’ eyes. I came from Puerto Rico, my native language was Spanish, I came with two last names, and so on. I grew up knowing many people will be quick to tell me what to think and what not to question, so I drew on the perseverance of my perfectly imperfect family. Learning from my abuelas and parents how to reflect, how to get to the bottom of what I think and feel was powerful to break barriers for myself, confront obstacles and tackle them with passion. I know the best way I can teach this to my students is by example. I practice humility when I share how I am still expanding my thinking to come to newer understandings. I share my whys and hows for each lesson and welcome their input. By continuing to delve into my mind, I get to know myself better for my students. Doing so affords me the opportunity to take steps towards bringing to life what I want to say with purpose and what I ultimately want to write about.

 What would you tell your younger self?

Stay determined and passionate about what you love. Keep gaining a wider perspective on the world. Snuff out the self-doubt and live with conviction. 

Advice for new scholars and/or teachers

With the work you are doing in the classroom, embrace the uncomfortableness and the joy. Such moments reveal how we are all unfinished and becoming. When we recognize this, we can take important steps to honor and celebrate the beautiful diversity of our students and their communities.

Something else you want to share?

Trust in the growth that comes from stretching yourself out in new directions you never thought possible. Our communities and the world need this.

Twitter handle


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