High School Teacher Wins Travel Grant
Social studies teacher is one of three competitors from greater Boston to study abroad.
In a few days, North Reading High School teacher Sotirios Pintzopoulos will find himself immersed in the culture and history of Turkey as he participates in an international study grant offered to high school teachers by the Turkish Cultural Foundation.
The work of this non-profit American foundation fits with interests Pintzopoulos has long held.
Pintzopoulos interned with the non-profit, non-partisan organization WorldBoston, an affliate of The World Affairs Council of America in the spring of his senior year at Stonehill College.
"For me the mission of my courses, Modern World History, World Economics and Advanced Placement studies is to introduce students to our international neighbors," Pintzopoulos said. "As the world grows more interdependent it becomes more important to prepare students for the complexity of global relationships."
Pintzopoulos will spend 13 days with other American teachers from major cities awarded the study grants after submitting essays about the lesson plans they intend to develop as a result of their experiences in Turkey.
"In turn," explained the teacher and advisor to the Model UN Club, "I'll come back prepared to train other teachers. It's extremely important for teachers to put things in perspective for young people."
Having learned some Turkish through the Rossetta Stone Language system and as a teacher-traveler planning on taking many photos Pintzopoulos will bring part of Turkey home with him.
In addition to the direct benefits for his students, Pintzopoulos will participate in training teachers at workshops sponsored by WorldBoston. For interested students not in his classes he intends to conduct informational sessions during the "power blocks" built in to the high school's daily schedule.
Under his tutelage students from the UN Club and AP classes will have expanding opportunities to compete in Academic World Quest. Held in the new Americas wing of Boston's Museum of Fine Arts, Quest is a competitive team effort to score the highest in eight categories all of which test understanding of current world events. In the past three years, North Reading students have participated taking on difficult global problems such as world religions, the environment and human trafficking.
Principal Jon Bernard supports his endeavors.
"It is further evidence of the willingness of our teachers to bring a living practicality to what they teach," said Bernard. "Mr. Pintzopoulos will return with enriching stories of his experience adding to the excitement of the learning environment."
"I've always had an interest in this democratic country that blends Eastern and Western cultures," Pintzopoulos refelected. "Its economy is strong and it's a country of importance to allies and neighbors."
Pintzopoulos and his colleagues will have a full itinerary with visits to the cities of Istanbul, the capital Ankara, and interior towns.
They will spend days filled with information as well as cultural exposure to modern and classical aspects of Turkish society.