Teacher Spotlight — October 2020

Meet Mr. Adam Corbin | 11th Grade AP English Teacher | KIPP DC College Preparatory


Mr. Adam Corbin is an 11th grade AP English teacher at KIPP DC College Preparatory and October’s Teacher Spotlight! Mr. Corbin joined KIPP DC in 2017 as a Resident in the Capital Teaching Residency. Before joining KIPP DC, Mr. Corbin graduated from Wheaton College where he studied English and philosophy. He is also a former Peace Corps member, having taught English to students in Ethiopia. Though immensely gratifying, the call to make a difference in the American education system drew him back from overseas and into classrooms at KIPP DC College Preparatory.

“I believe education has tremendous power to expand someone’s world and horizons while equipping them with the tools to pursue more than they may have previously thought they were capable of achieving. That was true in my life, and it’s what I hope to bring to my students.”

When describing the joy that he gets from teaching high school students, Mr. Corbin points to James Baldwin and his quote on the paradox of education—that as one becomes conscious, one begins to examine the society that they are being educated in–that puts his passion for teaching this age group into perspective.

“To me, this is the time we students start critically examining the society around them, asking questions, and figuring out for themselves what they believe and who they want to be. I enjoy engaging and digging into those examinations with them.”

To dig into the crucial examinations or just generally creating meaningful experiences in the classroom relies on building trust with students and engaging with them authentically. Which was something Mr. Corbin found out early in his first year of teaching after coming in with many ideas that weren’t clicking in the classroom.

“I just had to sit down with my students to figure out what was working and what wasn’t in a way that was authentic and vulnerable. From then on, it’s always been foundational for me to get across to my students that they know who I am and that I am there for them. But also, that it’s not just Mr. Corbin leading the class, but us all working together to figure out what’s best.”

Conversations like those have led to some of Mr. Corbin’s most successful units, like the Rhetoric of Music, co-created alongside a group of his students. Throughout the lesson, students analyze the musical texts of both past and contemporary artists to do a deep dive into the rhetorical content and messages they are trying to get across to their audiences. They have also led to connections outside of the classroom, where Mr. Corbin has led various after-school clubs during his time at KIPP DC College Preparatory including the chess club and gaming club.

All in all, it’s the power of education and the ability to equip students with the knowledge to impact the world around them that Mr. Corbin continues to draw his motivation from each day.

“I had teachers in my life that have been so important to me and have helped me get to where I am today, and I want to do that for others. I love teaching and can’t imagine a future where I’m not doing it. There is something so fulfilling about teaching that without it, my life would be impoverished.”

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Posted on November 4, 2020 in Awards & Recognition