Observing life-long educators bring hope and joy to K-12 learning, and teaching youth from gang intervention projects to Yale College and Harvard College, has taught me that passionate and resilient teachers are game changers. When these educators show empathy—the mortar that binds learners, creates commonality, and delights in collective success—even the uninterested student can undergo a radical transformation.
This ethos undergirds my pedagogical approach to studying and teaching the history of African descendants and marginalized peoples in the Americas.
As a historian, I am committed to the advancement of critical analysis and writing. I teach my students to understand and appreciate that critical thinking and writing is a bedrock of a functional, healthy, liberal democracy. These skills, moreover, are necessary for independent, life-long learning. I am eager to teach and help cultivate a new crop of humanists who think critically, write effectively, and engage civil society responsibly.
In Fall 2018, I will teach “Binding Ties: African North Americans and Citizenship, 1775-Present” in the Department of History at Harvard University. I have served as a Teaching Fellow for the writing-intensive lecture “The Civil War and Reconstruction Era,” facilitating two reading discussions and providing detailed feedback on written assignments. From 2014 to 2018, I guest lectured for the Yale College course “Quebec and Canada, 1791 to Present,” for which I reviewed select research papers.
I have taught as a Lead Instructor in the Yale Young Global Scholars initiative, offering in-depth seminars as diverse as Bacon’s Rebellion and the Making of U.S. Racial Caste; John Locke and the Imperial Foundations of Property Rights; The Haitian Revolution; The Monroe Doctrine; Financial Missionaries and Dollar Diplomacy; The U.S. Empire; Comparative Apartheid in South Africa and the United States; Decolonization in Africa; and Civil and Voting Rights Acts of 1964 and 1965.
I’ve truly enjoyed spending sections with Wendell. He has a passion for the field which he conveys through his penetrating questions and ability to hold a discussion among twelve people. He’s also very nice and approachable which is helpful in such a large lecture course.
I thought Wendell was a fantastic TA. Sections always felt like an easy, comfortable place to voice your opinions and no one person seemed to dominate the conversation all semester. He also effectively pushed our thinking every week in section and especially on the papers. I really enjoyed my semester with him.
Wendell was a great TA. Informative, passionate, well-prepared, and always available when we needed him. Discussions were kept going at a fine clip, and his leadership in section was was great. I would suggest that he work on improving the flow of discussion; though sufficiently deep, transitions were a little awkward.
One of the best TFs I have ever had. Section actually added value--new information, a new perspective, new questions to consider. Plus he’s just a great guy.
Wendell is an excellent teaching fellow. Although he said that he had not originally planned on teaching a discussion section, I am very glad that he did. He presented incisive arguments in section about race and civil society. His spoken comments probed me to think more deeply about race in the United States today, and his written comments helped me refine my writing. I see the value of having everyone give their “visceral reactions” at the start of each section--it gets everyone to participate and allows us to gauge the mood of the class. However, they tend to take a large part of section. To quicken the pace and ensure that we have enough time in section to pursue other discussions, I would encourage Wendell to enforce time-limits for people’s comments.
This was 100% my favourite seminar. Wendell was so prepared and knew exactly what he wanted us to get out of it. He’s an amazing amazing teacher who is so good at making sure everyone feels that their input is valuable. He makes sure that everyone is thinking critically and raises very good questions that have been prepared beforehand. He’s very open-minded and willing to look at the problems from different perspectives, and creates a very positive and inviting learning environment. I also love his style of teaching because he does not have powerpoints, which could be dry, but unlike some of the other instructors I’ve had, he still is very prepared and informs us on many issues without lecturing us. I really like how he starts off by asking everyone what they thought from the reading, to set up a good platform for discussion and to hear from everybody. Wendell is definitely my favourite instructor and this was my favourite seminar.
I have attended Wendell’s seminars twice and I have to say I love them. I am very interested in this topic, and Wendell’s knowledge of this matter and his personal background all makes this seminar a wonderful one. There is only one thing I want to point out. At the very end, Wendell shared with us some of his not so pleasant experiences. I like that but after this he unintentionally ended the seminar in a low mood. I was thinking if he could at the very end say a sentence or two to encourage us and drag the discussion back, it would have been a perfect ending and I think everyone would have clapped. But I still want to emphasize I llike his seminars very much.
Wendell was a fantastic teaching fellow, probably one of the best I have had at Yale. His sections were well-structured and helpful and I thoroughly enjoyed attending them every week. While he was a bit of a harsh grader I nevertheless respected his teaching style and opinions and would definitely recommend him to another student.
Incredible TA, absolutely life changing in terms of the topics we discussed in class. Made me rethink how I view the country I live in and the media that I am inundated with.