Download PDF

Sara O. Derdiger

Secondary teacher at Hsinchu American School

Teaching Philosophy

My job as a teacher is to be a champion for my students, to push them further than they think they are capable of, and to be an advocate for them each and every day. As a literature teacher, specifically, it is my role to present relevant and challenging material to my students and engage them in critical thinking and dialogue about the works being studied.



Professional Educator License

Illinois State Board of Education

Secondary Education grades 6-12
English Language Arts grades 9-12
Language Arts and Social Studies grades 6-8

Work experience

Aug 2015Jul 2017

Secondary Teacher

Hsinchu American School, Hsinchu, Taiwan
  • Taught 7th grade Literature, Writing, and World History for the first year.
  • The second year I taught high school Intro. to Literature, Advanced Writing, American Literature, College Essay Writing, and Dystopian Literature.
  • Hsinchu American School is Western Association of Schools and Colleges accredited.
  • HAS students are primarily Taiwanese and English Language Learners.
  • Successfully advocated for the implementation of an ESL program at both the middle and high school level. T
  • Taught a Flipped Learning professional development workshop in 2016.
Apr 2015Jun 2015

Long-Term Substitute

Hamilton International Middle School, Seattle, Washington
  • Worked primarily with students with learning disabilities.
Feb 2015Apr 2015

Substitute Teacher

Seattle Public Schools, Seattle, Washington

I worked as a substitute teacher for short-term assignments in Seattle Public Schools.

Aug 2014Jan 2015

Long-Term Substitute

Nelson Middle School, Renton, Washington
  • Taught the College Board’s SpringBoard curriculum, which the district was piloting.
  • Worked with many English language learners and Special Education students.
Aug 2012Jun 2013

Student Teacher

Maine East High School, Park Ridge, Illinois

Student Teacher,  Maine East Township High School, Park Ridge, IL

  • Completed a full year intensive practicum, including observing four days a week from August through April, followed by student teaching five days a week from April through the end of the year.
  • Maine East is highly diverse and many student spoke English as their second language.
  • Taught American Studies and Junior English (multiple sections).
  •  Implemented service learning as well as utilized Google Docs for ACT prep and vocabulary building. 


Working with ELLs

Extensive experience working with English Language Learners, specifically those who speak Mandarin or Spanish as their first language.

Collaboration Skills

Extensive experience working with colleagues on planning coursework as well as providing additional help for students.

Technologically Savvy

Experienced in various online grade books, Learning Management Systems, and tools for Flipped Learning

Curriculum Development

Experience in the creation of numerous course syllabi, the use of backward design (Understanding by Design trained), and the creation of common assessments.

Experience with Common Core

Experienced in Common Core Standards across high school grade levels.

Microsoft Office Proficient

Proficient in Word, Excel, Powerpoint

IEP and 504 Creation and Implementation

Served on teams for students with both IEPs and 504s, as well as taught many students with IEPs and 504s

Action Research

Completed a graduate level course in creating and applying action research


Jun 2012Apr 2015

Master of Arts in Teaching Secondary Education

National-Louis University

Completed an MAT in secondary education and obtained endorsements in 6-12 English/Language Arts as well as 6-8 Social Studies
Graduated with honors

Sep 2008May 2012

Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing

Columbia College Chicago

Studied creative writing with an emphasis on poetry at Columbia College Chicago.
Graduated with honors

Sample Lesson Plans and Course Materials

Below are lesson plans and course materials used in my classes over the last few years.

Flipped Learning Creations

Student Work Samples

Below you will find a few samples of student work from the past few years.

Conference Attendance

April 15-15, 2016 FlipCon 2016, Taipei, Taiwan

  • Flipped Learning
    Jon Bergmann, Author. Teacher. Creator of Flipped Learning
  • E-Learning
    Ray Lu, Innovator in E-learning and creator of Junyi Academy

October 18, 2014 Northwest Conference on Teaching for Social Justice,  Portland, OR

  • More Than a Score: Boycotts, opt-outs, walkouts, and other actions against high-stakes testing
    Jesse Hagopian, Author. History teacher and co-advisor for the Black Student Union at Garfield High School, Seattle, WA
  • Honoring the Whole Student in Assessments
    Rachel Eells, Teacher at Garfield High School, Seattle, WA
  • Global Leadership: Classroom Strategies You Can Use to Create a Class Where Everyone Gets It and Democracy Reigns
    Christopher Fontana, Executive Director of Global Visionaries

October 10, 2014 District Level Training,  Renton, WA 

  • Using Talk Moves to Increase Student Engagement
    Pam Wise, Secondary Literacy Consultant & Kimberly Booker, Secondary Math Facilitator
  •  Supporting Differentiation in the Gen Ed Classroom
    Karen Mataya, Assistant Director of Special Education & Molly Moss, ELL Facilitator
  • Strategies for Responding to Challenging Behavior
    Travis Hall, Manager of Renton Academy

Currently Working On...

Building a portfolio of videos to use in a Flipped classroom.

Reading education literature, specifically related to social equity/social justice, international and global education, encouraging creativity within the classroom.

Improving classroom management techniques and procedures through reading literature on those topics, conducting online research, and discussing these challenges with colleagues.