Adam Rosssmaller

Academics, Community, Faculty, Upper School

NWS New Faculty Spotlight: Meet Chinese Language Teacher Adam Ross

By Adam Ross

We're delighted to introduce you to Adam Ross, a new member of the teaching faculty with a passion for Project Based Language Learning, travel, books, the show "Angels in America," and ABBA. Read on to learn more about him.

  1. Name: Adam Ross
  2. Title: Chinese Language Teacher
  3. Department: Modern Languages, Upper School
  4. What stands out about NWS so far?
    I love the inclusive community, and the mix of historical and contemporary architecture in the middle of the beautiful city of Seattle.
  5. What do you love about your work?
    I love being in the classroom and learning and teaching Chinese language. I also love traveling to China and Taiwan, and I have led about a dozen trips to China for middle and upper school students as well as for faculty colleagues.
  6. What is something you are particularly proud of?
    I am proud of my work over the last few years to develop PBLL (Project Based Language Learning) to be a key curricular focus in my Chinese language classes and I look forward to implementing new lessons with NWS students.
  7. What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
    I love to cook and eat out, play tennis, sing in my choir, play contract bridge and travel. The pandemic has not stopped me in my wanderlust – I took a trip to Spain in July, and even did a seven-month round-the-world journey to 15 countries and territories a few years ago.
  8. What do you appreciate about Seattle and/or the Pacific Northwest?
    I have been in San Francisco for the past seven years, but am very happy to be back in Seattle as I lived here from 1993 to 2014. I love the combination of a fun urban environment and a wonderful natural setting that’s easy to take advantage of. I particularly love being back on Capitol Hill again. I feel like I am reliving my 20’s since I first moved here in the mid-1990s.
  9. Is there a particular book, quote, movie, TV show, and/or song that you would recommend? How has it inspired, amused, or impacted you?
    I’m a big fan of the arts in general, so I’m going to really have fun with this question…

    Book: “The Dream of the Red Chamber” 红楼梦is a classic of world literature and was the subject of my MA thesis at UW. It is a truly towering work of late imperial Chinese fiction. One of my proudest moments as a teacher was introducing the work to 8th grade students studying Chinese and then bringing them all to the premiere of the opera version of the work by the Chinese composer Bright Sheng.

    Movie: My favorite film of all time is the 2000 Taiwan Film “Yi Yi (A One and a Two),” and I look forward to introducing a curriculum unit on it in my Chinese 4 class. While on the surface it’s just a movie about the various members of a modern Chinese family in Taipei, it’s ultimately about human connections and the importance of gaining a fuller understanding about the world around us, as challenging as that can be given our limited, subjective perspectives. The final scene is intensely and unexpectedly moving, and it’s rare that I show the film without several students (and myself!) in tears at the end.

    TV Show/Theater Drama: “Angels in America” is simply THE seminal work by an American dramatist (Tony Kushner) in our time, and each time I watch it, I find something new to take away. And, it has resonance even now. The drama takes place at the onset of another health crisis – the AIDS epidemic –and focuses on the machinations of a real-life character, Roy Cohn, who was a mentor to Donald Trump in the 80’s. But, it too has a moving, hopeful ending that bolsters the spirit and underscores the dignity of our shared humanity.

    Music: I’m a huge music fan, but if I had to pick just one work right now, it would be Joni Mitchell’s “Blue,” particularly since it was released 50 years ago this summer. I can’t think of any work that is so direct and honest, and which fundamentally changed how other singer songwriters started to reassess being authentic in their own music. I have also been an unabashed fan of the Swedish pop group ABBA since I started 6th grade, and I’m genuinely so excited the group is finally releasing new music very soon this fall. I’ve been waiting 39 years, since I was a 10th grader in high school, for any kind of new music from them as a group!