Teacher Feature: Ms. Diggs

Asha Diggs

Hometown: Takoma Park, Maryland
Undergrad & Major: Stockton University, Communication Studies
Favorite Place in DC: Adams Morgan – I love the variety of experiences that exist within the neighborhood.



Why did you decide to become a teacher?

I always wanted to be a teacher but I never really understood exactly what that meant until recently. I have worked with kids since I was 16 years old, at summer camps, after school programs, but never in a classroom setting. My first experience working with children in an academic setting was with at risk youth – and we were supposed to serve as a mentor, really pushing them towards specific goals that included college. I was almost turned off to teaching from this experience, because I didn’t like that we were telling kids what they should become, rather than helping them discover what they want to become. I stepped back for a little bit, but then when I discovered Inspired Teaching, I realized it was completely aligned with what I think a teacher should be. The concept of student as expert rather than teacher as expert really resonated with me.

What attracted you to the Inspired Teaching Residency’s model?

I love the freedom of engagement at Inspired Teaching. There is clearly a procedure and method to the madness, but it is also free and liberating at the same time. We don’t read from a script. Instead we’re taught to make the curriculum our own and to co-create a community with our students.

What is something that has surprised you about Summer Institute?

I went in with the idea that it would be me sitting in a traditional classroom, learning about teaching. On the very first day, they said ‘there are no chairs in here, get comfy!’ and I knew this was definitely different than I’d expected. It has been very engaging and I am processing so much. I’m exhausted but exhausted from learning!

When you ​think about the year ahead​,​ what are you looking forward to focusing on?

I’m excited to get in the classroom and see what I learned this summer put into action. Building relationships is my priority. Building relationships with students and especially building a good relationship with my lead teacher.

Is there a teacher who made a difference in your life?

Absolutely. I have a teacher from High School, Mr. Smith, who I’m still in touch with. He will text me, interested to know what I’m doing these days, and asking for updates on my life. He has been my biggest supporter. When I got a new job, he reached out to ask, ‘what do you need from me?’ I always want to be that kind of a teacher. I want my students to understand that just because I teach you within these walls, doesn’t mean my help can’t extend past them.

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