As a teacher of English and television & film production at Quince Orchard High School in Gaithersburg, Maryland, Kunal Arora ’15 is helping his students to develop and work toward their own long-term goals.
“We live in a digital world,” Arora said. “If we do not teach our students about new media, we are doing them a disservice. It’s so prevalent in every field that the skills that come with utilizing new media are now universal.”
To that end, Arora is helping to lead the Career Technology Education program at Quince Orchard High School, personally heading up the Audiovisual Communication & Broadcast Technologies pathway, which he spearheaded at the school.
“Before I started teaching at Quince Orchard HS, none of this was being taught,” he said. “We didn’t even have a TV production class or program, just a club, with outdated equipment and intermittent attendance.”
“The goal is to empower students by teaching them the skills to do all kinds of work related to audiovisual communication and broadcast technologies.”
For the time being, Arora is the sole teacher of broadcast and new media technology at his school. If enrollment in the program grows, he said, they might need to bring in more teachers. In December 2018, he spoke to some soon-to-be teachers in Clinical Assistant Professor Peggy Wilson’s class, offering tips and fielding questions about early career teaching. The students, she said, were “charmed” and “engaged.”
“Arora is funny,” Wilson said. “He has a delightful sense of humor, and one of his greatest strengths is making those around him feel comfortable and welcome.
“He also has an uncanny ability to work toward his long-term goals today,” said Clinical Assistant Professor Peggy Wilson of Arora, who she also described as very focused.
His abilities in front of a group were cultivated, at least somewhat, by trying stand-up comedy during community open mics at Maryland.
“It’s incredibly useful to use humor for rapport and motivation. I think connecting with kids is my strongest strength as a teacher.”
In addition to his TV production class, Arora teaches AP Language and Composition, as well as as a course called Literature as Film. The goal of the former, he said, is to prepare students for college-level reading, writing, thinking and speaking. The latter is intended to “expose students to the power of storytelling and visual rhetoric.” Many of his former students, he said, are now studying film in college because he passed along his own love of the medium to them.
“If I wasn’t a teacher, I would be in Hollywood or New York,” said Arora, who has a master’s degree in professional screenwriting from National University. “For now, my goal is to bring together my personal and professional goals. Bringing my own passions into the classroom has been a game changer.”
Originally published in the College’s alumni magazine, Endeavors Summer 2019 issue.
Photo Courtesy of Kunal Arora.