Lily Cui joined the Upper School English department in 2015, teaching Analytical Writing and American Writers to sophomores and juniors. Upon arrival Lily most looked forward to getting to know her students and breaking in her new hiking boots on Rainier during her inaugural Outdoor Ed trip.
Now that her first year at CWA is under her belt, Lily continues to explore new ways to inspire students and draws joy from watching Upper Schoolers engage with material she teaches. “I love when students get excited about a text or a question posed in class and try to spread their excitement around—when discussions bubble out into the world,” she says.
Lily’s favorite memory as a student stems from an English assignment writing an essay on an Emily Dickinson poem—she fell in love with another student who’d written on the same poem. Lily was pleasantly surprised to learn in graduate school that she loved teaching. A required component of her program, teaching was a skill Lily was unsure she possessed but enjoyed practicing. “To my surprise and delight, I absolutely loved teaching and looked forward to it every week,” she says. “I think it was my time teaching literature in a prison in upstate New York that ultimately convinced me to continue teaching after I finished my degree. Seeing the difference literature—and the space to discuss and enjoy literature—could make in students’ lives was an unforgettable experience, and I hope to keep helping to create those spaces for a long time.”
In her free time, Lily is a fan of film, bike riding, hiking, stand-up comedy, and petting other people’s dogs.