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Teacher Feature: Micah Gibbens

Teacher Feature: Micah Gibbens

Micah Gibbens is a member of the Museum of Pop Culture’s Teacher Advisory Board (TAB), which helps MoPOP develop programs that meet the complex needs of modern classrooms. TAB members test new programming, receive free exclusive workshops, and influence the museum’s curriculum. Applications are now open for our 2020-21 Teacher Advisory Board, find out more and apply at MoPOP.org/TAB

Let's get to know Micah!

Tell us a bit about yourself and what you teach!

Micah: I teach high school social studies and math at a self-contained program in Bellevue, Washington. I work primarily with adolescent students with moderate to severe behavioral difficulties. I grew up in Eastern Washington, and served a couple of years with AmeriCorps before beginning my teaching career in NYC. I taught in Brooklyn for five years before returning home to the PNW. I live in Shoreline with my wife, Paige, and our terrier, Gus.

Any tips for teaching in the age of COVID-19?

Micah: The lists of online platforms to employ are numerous (perhaps too numerous?), and while I've had success pulling resources from Khan Academy and YouTube, and have begun using Google Classroom, with my students and their families I emphasize the importance of focusing on mental health and establishing sustainable routines. There are a ton of practical life skills which students could be developing during this time (helping around the house, getting physically active), which might be more beneficial than multiple hours on a screen trying to "keep up." Like I do in the classroom with my students, I focus on meeting folks where they are at, figuring out what they are capable of (and interested in), and then grow from there.

Why did you apply to be a part of the Teacher Advisory Board?

Micah: Pop culture is a fantastic vehicle for students (and all people) from disparate backgrounds to find commonalities. I enjoy learning about what my students are into currently, and I enjoy helping them to find others who share their interests. For the adolescents I work with, many of whom have experienced some form of isolation in their previous school environments, it can be incredibly powerful to discover when their interests are shared by others.

Micah Gibbens with dog

How does MoPOP connect to your classroom content?

Micah: The materials on display at MoPOP serve as the hook. You get students engaged through scary movies, video games, sci-fi/fantasy, tattoo, music, whatever, then from there you can literally go anywhere. I brought my students for a fantastic workshop on the architecture of Frank Gehry earlier this year, which led to a larger conversation on what is art, who gets to decide what is aesthetically pleasing, and how these concepts are constantly evolving over time.

What is your favorite memory with MoPOP?

Micah: Ooh, this is a tough one. I would probably have to say the first TAB meeting I attended. Teaching is a funny profession, we're surrounded by people throughout the day (well, we used to be), yet it can feel pretty isolating at times. That first TAB meeting was an awesome way to be reminded that I'm part of a larger community of educators in King County who love to geek out with their students.

What’s your pop culture passion?

Micah: John Oliver's Last Week Tonight has been a weekly dose of wit and wisdom which has helped me immensely over the last few years. Music videos by Ok Go always make (me feel) better. YouTube videos of metal/prog rock drummers are pretty great too.


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