My name is Neal Donovan and I am one of the newest KEYS Service Members (AmeriCorps) for ALEC this year! I’m extremely excited to prepare for the year with Maggie and Dianna to eventually meet and work with your child at the end of September. Anyone who knows me will tell you: I don’t like to sit still, so I’m just itching to get started with the school year.
A little background about myself: I am originally from Reading, PA and started my trek into Western PA to start a degree in Foreign Languages and Linguistics at Juniata College in Huntingdon, PA. After graduating in 2016, I spent a year in Germany as a Fulbright scholar teaching English in two German public schools.
My time in Germany was life-changing: I utilized my German skills while representing the USA and native English speakers in the classroom. The most rewarding experience was working with two German as a Second Language courses: one for adults which I led myself and one for children in which I aided the teachers. Because the students were primarily refugees with different languages, these classes were challenges as well as insights into other cultures.
Besides settling into my new life in Pittsburgh, I spend a lot of my time either outside or cooking. I play in two Ultimate Frisbee leagues here in Pittsburgh and am always looking for options to play pickup in local parks. I enjoy riding my bike and taking hikes whenever I get the chance. When I’m indoors, I like to hang with friends and family while playing games, if possible. To get creative juices flowing, I'll break out my balloons to twist animal creations more complex than your typical dog. Apart from that, I’m usually preparing food for the week or experimenting with vegetarian, vegan, and DIY recipes such as fermented foods (sauerkraut, kombucha, etc.), homemade hummus, pizza, and bread.
In general, I am a fun-loving guy. I always look for opportunities to play games and incorporate fun into everyday lessons and activities. Establishing a strong relationship with my students through fun is very important to my approach to education. Because we are all kids at heart, I believe that connecting through fun and silliness helps build a mutual understanding that contributes to learning and working together. Plus, it makes the day more interesting :)
I’m very excited to serve at ALEC this year and cannot wait to get the year started!
All the best,