Podcasts, Show Notes

7: ‘Shakespeare Would Be My Friend’ With Samantha Andico and Meira Furuki-Chua

In my first couple of years as a teacher, I wasn’t really a teacher. I was a pretender.

Or, I was an actor playing the role of a teacher.

I acted as if I knew how to conduct myself in the classroom, as if I knew how to teach young people how to read, as if I knew how to direct and inspire and mentor and guide. It was all an act. Some say it was a good act. But still, an act. Play time.

Having students like Sam and Meira in my very first class showed me what it was like to be a real teacher.

They were amazing from the beginning. They took ownership of their own successes, failures, feelings, responsibilities, and their place in the community. It’s all a teacher can ask for, really, for themselves, their students, and their institutions: own it. Own yourself. Own everything, the good and the bad. That way, we can all figure out how to be better, how to learn better, how to love better.

At the time, Sam and Meira did this as students in an international school classroom. Today, almost a decade later, they do this as fully formed adults in a crazy world.

I’m a teacher now. It’s no longer an act. I credit Sam and Meira—and students like them—for helping me get here.

Production Notes

  • We used Discord’s voice channel feature to have this conversation, and it resulted in it being the easiest episode I’ve had to produce. Virtually no audio glitches, even if there was a slight lag and lots of crosstalk. Good job, Discord!
  • I saw this on Reddit right after editing the interview audio, and thought it apropos for this episode. Yay Poetry!
  • We’re on Episode 7, so it’s very likely that we have more shows behind us than ahead of us, at least for this season. Plus the school year is starting. I don’t want to get too far ahead of myself, but I just want to say that it’s been an absolute blast every step of the way. Thank you for coming along for the ride. That said, I think my pal K Sawyer Paul might have a few ideas to help me scratch my podcast itch

Show Notes

This is for privileged kids, the teachers of those kids, and anyone engaged in international education.

Special guests Samantha Andico and Meira Furuki-Chua were in the first group of students I ever taught in a formal education setting. I’ve had the privilege of teaching wonderful people through the years, but Sam and Meira stand out not just because they were in my first class, but simply because they cared—about being excellent, being honest, and making a difference. It made my tumultuous rookie years easier than they should have been.

Sam and Meira share their stories of how their fancy International Baccalaureate education—and my involvement in it—helped (and didn’t help) them in becoming the kind, wonderful, and difference-making women that I see them as today. In the process, they let me share my stories (and screwups) as a rookie teacher. I’m grateful that Sam and Meira redeem them.



  • 0:00 — Opening theme
  • 0:27 — Introduction
  • 3:28 — It’s been…
  • 6:31 — So what are you?
  • 10:20 — First Class
  • 23:11 — The IB takes over your life
  • 39:00 — Advice for teachers of future Sams and Meiras
  • 49:12 — Highlights and lowlights
  • 1:09:08 — Outro
  • 1:10:26 — Head, Shoulders, Knees, and…
Mikey Llorin


The following is a slightly edited version of an e-mail I sent to my Theater Arts students two weeks after their graduation. 

Future ladies and gentlemen,

Many moons ago, one of you planted a thought in my head: that I would be the one to deliver the speech during your commencement exercises. Of course, the vain part of my brain (which means my entire brain) loved the idea, even if I knew I did not nearly have enough life experience and/or professional credentials to be chosen as speaker. Besides, I’m not [a person who meets a particular qualification]. And you know how Southville has an obsession with [only choosing people who meet a particular qualification].

Of course it didn’t happen. I was relegated to assisting the Powerpoint dude during your graduation. I didn’t, though. I just sat there tweeting, and laughing at the technical screw-ups.

I also sat there wondering what I would say to you, if I was the one behind the podium instead of that [lady who met that particular qualification]. I think I’ve already told you everything I ever wanted to already. I think you already know of the things I so fiercely believe in: spending yourself for love; being men and women of integrity; kicking ass at what you love doing; plain and simple honesty … you know of them, and I hope you learn them before life teaches you.

So what else do I have to say?

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