Armando Batista was born and raised in Washington Heights, New York, the proud son of Dominican immigrants. He is a writer, performing artist and educator. As an educator, Armando has worked for over 15 years with youth of all ages, guiding them in expressing themselves through the creative process, whether it’s acting, writing or storytelling. As a performer, he has worked in theater, television and film, and has created and performed his own plays. Armando is currently earning an MFA in Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts.
We are so excited to welcome Armando as a Creative Arts and Design Faculty member.
Q: What inspired you to teach?
A: I’ve been inspired to teach by teachers that have been role models in my own life. Teachers who shared their joy for learning, who saw me as a bright person wanting to know more. I believe in learning from my students; a good teacher is a good student. If you aren’t learning from your students then you aren’t growing. I don’t want to be a teacher that pontificates and lectures, claiming to know everything. I am an infinite learner and I want to be a role model like those who came before me.
Q: What are your hobbies, interests or specialties?
A: One of my main interests is looking at storytelling and being able to use it as a creative tool to deal with the everyday. Storytelling makes us uniquely human and helps us piece together things that happen in our lives and the world we live in. I like to dive into the DNA of story as far back as we’ve been able to record, up to today’s modern technology and beyond. As humans we all have basic and fundamental needs – food, shelter, water, companionship. But outside of those, I believe stories are a vital part of makes us human.
Q: What’s your favorite place you’ve ever traveled to? And what did you learn from the experience?
A: The Dominican Republic, where my family is from. I’ve now been there several times and I’ve learned a lot from each trip. One lesson is that of humility. Even though I may know the language and have a cultural connection with the people, I’m still American, born and raised in New York, and have the privilege of a US passport which allows me to come and go as I please. Most Dominicans on the island do not have that privilege. So I’ve love to sit with people and meet them human to human, to remind myself that we are equals and that my privilege doesn’t give me elevated status. I also love to connect with the kids when I’m there. They know where to find the freshest fruit. They know how to make toys out of found objects and have great imagination and inventiveness.
Q: What is a project you have enjoyed completing with students?
A: Most recently I was working with a group of senior citizens on a structured improvisation project. The seniors had to bring in a favorite piece they had read or a favorite song to inspire them to create characters for an original performance piece. From there we collaborated with another group of seniors who were making masks. Together they created masks depicting characters my students had developed. Finally they performed the original piece together wearing the unique masks.
Armando Batista is just one of our faculty members passionate about igniting global education in the lives of our students. Keep an eye out for more opportunities to get to know our teachers, or attend one of our upcoming events to meet our team and learn more about our mission.