Thomas Jefferson

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Teaching Tango

Posted 03/07/2019 by Skye Cline

Moss reads a book to prepare for his freshmen classes. photo by Baxter Stein

 Andre Moss is welcomed into the English department for his first year of teaching.

This school year, English Teacher Andre Moss returned to TJ as a full-time teacher rather than a student teacher. Moss started his teaching program in California and finished the program in Colorado, graduating from the University of Southern California (USC) in 2018. After student teaching at TJ, Moss knew this was the school at which he wanted to teach. “After working with Ms. Wilson and Mr. Silvers, along with all of the amazing teachers in the TJ English Department, I knew this would be a good place to work,” articulated Moss.

While Moss is from southern California, Denver was the only city outside of the Golden State he considered staying at for an extended period of time. Moss started coming to Denver to visit one of his best friends from the undergraduate program at USC. After living exclusively in California for 26 years, Moss thought it was time for a change in scenery, and after visiting cities all around the country, he figured Denver was the place to be. Over the course of four years, he fell in love with the city, the beautiful mountains, and the musical culture around the state.

Although Moss was originally studying math in college, switching to English was an easy transition. Math is logical and quantitative, while English is more creative and fun, which was perfect for Moss. “As comforting as math is, knowing that there is always a right answer and knowing it will always work the same way every time, there is something exploratory and fun about English that comes with knowing that there is no right answer,” explained Moss.

As high schoolers grow up into young adults, many have a list of dream careers. For Moss, that dream list consisted of: actor, singer, writer, lawyer, dancer, and teacher. While Moss is a teacher now, he began formally dancing his junior year of high school for a school production of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. “Once I put on those tap shoes, it was over. I never took them off,” expressed Moss. Students in Moss’ English class often find him tapping while they do individual or small group work. While Moss loves other styles of dance such as hip-hop, contemporary, and jazz, tap dancing remains his favorite.

Despite the varied list of dream careers he had growing up, the idea of becoming a teacher was a powerful one. “The educators I had growing up encouraged me to reach my potential, inspired a love of learning, and displayed genuine compassion at a time when I needed it most,” voiced Moss. He believes that if he can show that compassion to even one student, then the years of teaching will all be worth it.