Meet Teaching Artist Ge Gao
Ge Gao is a Chinese writer based in New York City. She received a BA in philosophy from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities and an MFA in creative nonfiction writing from Columbia University. Her essays have appeared in The Threepenny Review, Longreads, Words Without Borders, Twin Cities Daily Planet, and elsewhere. She has worked as a writing consultant at Borough of Manhattan Community College and an adjunct lecturer for English composition courses at Hunter college. She is now working on a book of essays about her cross-cultural coming-of-age story.
Find a list of Ge's current classes by visiting her artist page.
When did you start teaching? What path—career or otherwise—brought you here?
I started teaching after I graduated from my MFA at Columbia University in 2017. I volunteered teaching creative writing workshops at a public high school in Manhattan for a semester and, later, at the Brooklyn Detention Center for a summer. Many of my students awed me by sharing their honesty and brilliance in their writings, by showing me how reading or writing a piece of essay can liberate a person's mind. I've been working at a community college in Manhattan since then, and, currently, I teach at Hunter College, CUNY.
How would you describe your teaching style?
I see my role as a facilitator instead of an instructor in a classroom. We know more than we think we know. I encourage everyone to participate. I am eager to learn from everyone and every class as well.
When it comes to imagining and creating classes, where do your ideas come from? What in particular inspires you?
My own writing and research impulses; books I couldn't get over; professors and classes that inspired me in the past.
What's the ideal environment for your classroom? What atmosphere are you hoping to establish?
You feel okay to share or not share. You feel okay to cry or not cry. You feel okay to agree or disagree.
Regardless of what your class is specifically focusing on, what's the main goal you have for your students?
The next time when you feel lonely sitting on the subway or driving home, you'd remember a book from my class that you want to finish or decide to pick up your unfinished essay and give it another try.
What are goals you have for yourself? These could be teaching goals, writing goals, career goals, community goals, etc.
Finish my own collection of essays!
What have been some of your own favorite educational experiences?
Conversations I shared with professors, friends, and strangers I met on the walks I took around New York City.
To you personally, what is the most important part of the literary arts?
Satisfaction in aesthetic pursuit and ethical complexity; calling for social, cultural, philosophical thinking and awareness; honesty.