Why I teach at Dublin.
I remember the moment well. I was home from college for our winter break with some friends visiting. I went to the kitchen to grab something to drink and returned to find my friends in hysterics, having discovered and immediately played a VHS entitled “Christmas ’87.” The opening scene depicted a 2nd-grade version of me in slightly undersized pajamas cheering excitedly about a chemistry set I had just feverishly unwrapped. I quickly stopped the tape, but the damage was clearly done, something those same friends are quick to remind me of even to this day. The silver lining is that it was from that moment forward that I learned to accept, even embrace, my inner nerd.
I have always been a curious person. For as long as I can remember, much of that curiosity has been directed toward the natural world. I’ve been fortunate enough to live in and travel to some amazing places and I find that the more I see, the more questions I have. It was my passion for the outdoors that first led me to then Monadnock region to teach environmental science and ecology at Boston University’s Sargent Center for Outdoor Education in Hancock, NH. After two years of working with a different group of middle school students from various New England school districts each week, I came to two conclusions:
- Middle school students are exhausting, and
- One week was not nearly enough time to forge meaningful relationships.
In search of a more continuity as an educator, it was then that I heard through a friend about Dublin School.
I was hired in my first year to teach Environmental Science and work with the student rock band, in a serendipitous convergence of my two main interests at the time. I knew right away that I had found my place. I had never before seen such an eclectic group of passionate, engaged educators. Likewise, I was struck by the overall engagement and complete lack of cliques in a student body that was far more diverse than any I had ever experienced in my own education. I distinctly remember that my first school camping trip was complete with a torrential rainstorm. In addition to the stoicism displayed by all, I was particularly taken by the mutual respect that was evident between the students and faculty. It quickly dawned on me that in such a community, I stood to gain at least as much, if not more, than I could every possibly contribute.
Over the years, I’ve had the chance to play different roles in the school. While my titles and responsibilities have changed, my love for this place has only grown. I am fueled daily by the energy of our students. Having recently become a father, I am reminded that we all begin our lives as young scientists and explorers. In many educational settings, that innate curiosity is eventually overwritten by the social pressures of conformity, competition, occasionally apathy, and more recently, narcissism. Here at Dublin, curiosity is expected and nourished, difference is celebrated, and collaboration is paramount. Most importantly, there is no level of outward enthusiasm for learning that could ever come back to haunt someone here in the manner of my “Christmas ’87” experience.
At Dublin, students are the stewards of culture in which it’s cool to care. That is all the motivation I will ever need to stay curious.