It was a backpacking trip through Greece and Spain that inspired Grade 8 Dean and Middle School social studies teacher Jeremy Howard to become a history teacher. It was the beauty of the land and the stories it held that reminded him that history has so many lessons to tell.
“I love history because it is the essence of humanity. It is about human interaction with each other and the environment. It’s a story of science, language, math, art, and literature, and how civilizations used these elements and were affected by them,” says Jeremy.
More than 20 years later, Jeremy has taught history at all grade levels from the inner cities of Los Angeles to a private American school in Costa Rica to the Preuss School at UCSD. Jeremy finally settled at Parker in 2008.
After all these years, he says life in the classroom is never boring, but a few things have changed. Technology is ever evolving, students feel its presence during the school day now more than ever. Students from Grades 6 to 12 come to school with their own devices, Middle Schoolers use Parker assigned iPads every day, and teachers depend on the cloud for lessons and assignments.
In his seventh year as Parker’s Grade 8 dean, Jeremy enjoys working with his colleagues to curate the hallmarks of the Grade 8 curriculum. He led his first Discovery Week trip to New York City 11 years ago and is proud to report that the School’s Global Studies program has evolved a great deal since that time. Faculty-led trips to Costa Rica, Canada, Peru, Ecuador, and China, combined with programs such as the family history project, 8mazing adventure, and Grade 8 portfolios, connect the Middle School curriculum to a truly robust theme of global awareness.
After 9 years leading the Costa Rica trip, Jeremy feels right at home whenever he visits and loves sharing this experience with his students. “The people there are so welcoming and warm. I love seeing my students connect with their host families. The biggest takeaway students realize at the end of the trip is ‘They don’t have a lot but they are happy.’”
I love history because it is the essence of humanity. It is about human interaction with each other and the environment. It’s a story of science, language, math, art, and literature, and how civilizations used these elements and were affected by them.Jeremy Howard
Jeremy’s favorite project for his students is the end of the year research paper where students pick from 25 topics on a civil rights event or human rights issue.
“The students come in knowing little to nothing about their topics,” says Jeremy. “They are essentially blank canvases until they do their research. It is really neat to see them become the experts on the issue and begin to paint the picture of these important issues in society.”
Jeremy hopes his students remember the lessons they found in history and that it gives them a glimpse into the real world and their responsibility to society.
One thing hasn’t changed since Jeremy started at Parker: the people. “I work with the most amazing people,” says Jeremy. “Everyone has wonderful ideas and we just keep getting better every year.”
From the hard work of his students to the dedication of his colleagues, he describes coming to work as a joy, even after 21 years in the classroom.