After a handful of years in education, Carissa discovered that she most enjoys working with students beyond the traditional confines of the classroom. She first discovered her passion for working with kids while completing a Fulbright fellowship in Auroville, India, where she volunteered in the eco-village’s international kindergarten and taught a handful of disadvantaged village teens English while completing her anthropological and philosophical research.
Shortly afterward, she moved to Dresden, Germany, where she began working at the Dresden International School. The first two years were spent working primarily with elementary students, both in supervising them after school and working as a long-term PE substitute teacher. That said, Carissa had a longing for working with slightly older children.
After returning to school for a graduate certificate in international education from George Mason University, Carissa worked part time as a librarian assistant for the secondary school while also teaching grades 6, 7, 8 and 9 social studies. During her second and third years of teaching, she gave up the librarian position in order to revamp the secondary school’s extra-curricular program, for which she initiated a hula-hoop club at the school.
Carissa’s hula-hooping experience is self-taught. She was mesmerized by it time and again when visiting concerts and music festivals in the US in between her travels, and was given a hoop for her birthday in 2013 by her friends in Germany. She immediately took to hooping on a weekly basis, constantly looking for new teachers on You-tube. With so many different teachers available online, she found the variety of explanations for different tricks conducive to a fast progression in her own hooping. Sharing this excitement with her students while teaching in Dresden only further solidified her passion for hula-hooping.