Say hello to Calina Ciobanu, a former English professor at the United States Naval Academy and now a Humanities teacher at Sequoyah.
Born in Romania and raised in Southern California, Ciobanu did an undergraduate program at Harvard, then attended the University of Cambridge and walked out with a master’s degree in English, before finally graduating from Duke with a PhD in English. Once in graduate school, Ciobanu thoroughly enjoyed her training to become a professor. She said, “I found that I really enjoyed being in the classroom with students. I liked having thoughtful, critical discussions about books and big ideas. I just ended up loving it, and I wanted to keep doing it.”
Ciobanu took up her first teaching position at Emerson College in Boston, where she taught English for one year. Then she was offered a tenure-track job at the Naval Academy, where she taught English to future Naval Officers for three years. Unfortunately, during her time at the Naval Academy, Ciobanu never met Captain Pete Mitchel, also known as Maverick in Top Gun. What a shame.
In 2019, Ciobanu was offered a demo lesson here at Sequoyah and found that she liked the teaching and learning environment. She noted, “I thought the students were really smart, really curious, really kind. It was just a positive classroom experience…Everybody was warm, and I liked the sense of community.”
It was a transition from the Naval Academy, where she was teaching college students, to teaching energetic high school freshmen at Sequoyah. In terms of the curriculum adjustments, Ciobanu wasn’t as surprised at Sequoyah. She noted, “For instance, at the Naval Academy, I was teaching my [college] freshman The Odyssey and I taught [my freshmen at Sequoyah] The Odyssey… I wasn’t teaching The Odyssey any less in depth here than I was at the Naval Academy.”
When asked about her biggest pet peeve, Ciobanu had a surprising answer: “when students don’t turn in their work on time.” Don’t procrastinate!
In conclusion, Ciobanu has a very intriguing background and life story that you should ask her more about. She is also very knowledgeable about anything English related. Finally, she thoroughly enjoys being saluted and referred to as “Colonel Ciobanu.” Just kidding.