Faculty Profile: Emily McCauley, Fay History Teacher and Service Learning Coordinator
Emily talks about what she loves about teaching, the role of service learning at Fay, and the joys and challenges of co-teaching a course with her husband.
Since arriving at Fay in 2007, Emily McCauley has taught almost every class in the History Department, but her signature course is Diagnosing the Modern World, the interdisciplinary ninth grade elective that she has co-taught for six years with her husband, science teacher Tim McCauley. DMW focuses on key world issues, such as access to water, energy production, and food sustainability. The course dovetails perfectly with Emily’s role as Fay’s Service Learning Coordinator, where she seeks out opportunities for Fay students to make a difference on a local, national, and international scale.
Emily lives on campus in Webster House, where she and Tim, along with two-year-old son Cormac and dog Max, are the dorm family for a group of eighth and ninth grade girls. We met with Emily recently to discuss what she loves about teaching, the role of service learning at Fay, and the joys and challenges of co-teaching a course with her husband.
What brought you to teaching?
I had an American history teacher in high school who was so passionate and engaged; I will never forget him telling the story of the duel between Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton. I decided that I wanted to give teaching a try. I came to Fay and fell in love with the profession and the place.
What is it like co-teaching Diagnosing the Modern World with your husband Tim?
At this point, we have practiced teaching together so much that we have a good feel for who should drive the conversation. Of course, we still run into times where we are interrupting each other and disagreeing, but that fuels the discussion. The great thing is that the two of us together are much more creative than either of us is individually.
Is there a service learning opportunity that is particularly special in your opinion?
The ninth grade trip to the Dominican Republic is incredible. Throughout the week, you can see the kids transform and feel the joy that they experience. Like the other service learning opportunities we create for our students, it’s an opportunity to develop empathy, critical thinking, collaboration, and problem solving. The students have to work together in groups, they confront unfamiliar situations, and occasionally they’re thrown a curveball that they have to deal with—all enduring life skills.