Grant Gonzalez

Department: History

Position: World Language Teacher, History and Social Science Teacher

One great thing about Northfield Mount Hermon is how engaged the community is. Whether it’s students returning from Brazil, a new club starting, or a guest speaker, there’s a real desire to share experiences. And that makes everybody want to go out and learn more, do more, be more.

The school is just incredibly committed to international education, not just for students but teachers too. For example, I’ve received a professional development grant to study Arabic for six weeks at the American University in Beirut this summer. It’s a fantastic opportunity for me personally and will make the Arabic class I teach better in untold ways. It’s also powerful for the kids to actually know someone who’s traveled to the Middle East. It demystifies the region for them and energizes them to travel and to learn things personally rather than through a textbook.

I try to apply a similar dynamic in the class I teach on war. Iraq, for example, has a lot of nuances that are hard to untangle. So in class, we talk about the war as though it were happening here – that Boston is Baghdad. Once students start to imagine that situation and think of things in those terms, their analysis and understanding of the situation becomes both more personal and more sophisticated.

I completed a master’s degree in England last year, and it’s interesting to me that living at NMH offers just as broad a world view as living in London. Yes, it’s an enclave, a tiny town in New England, but there’s so much breadth of thought and hunger for learning. It feels like the world is right here and it’s amazing.

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