Passport in hand, Dr. Paul McHenry steps off of the plane and arrives in London on his very first trip abroad. He’s overwhelmed by all of the new smells, signs, and details around him; even the water fountain has different fixtures than he is used to. This trip is a push outside of his comfort zone, and will spark a new love for travel.
McHenry, a history teacher at the school, is devoted to teaching and engaging with his students. However, outside of class, McHenry enjoys traveling around the world. While he has visited London, North Africa, and Paris, one of McHenry said his most memorable trip was to Germany.
“20 years ago I went to Dachau in Germany, one of the Nazi concentration camps. And you can read about it, you can see the pictures, but going to that place has a sense of heaviness about [it],” McHenry said. “You even feel like the birds aren’t singing anymore. There’s just this somber mood while you’re there. I think experiencing that gives you additional depth.”
McHenry said that historical exploration is a common part of his trips: he would prefer to stay active and explore, rather than lounging on a beach.
“I think part of being an active traveler is that I want to learn the history of the place. I want to find out what’s important in that area for me. One of the most interesting things for me is delving into some of the stories behind the big things that we’re more aware of,” McHenry said.
McHenry said he has always loved learning, whether in the classroom or in an entirely different country.
“I always say I like to be a lifelong learner. And one of the things that I try to do is learn things that I am not at all good at, that I have no background in. And part of that is just kind of my love of learning. But I think part of that for me keeps me connected to my students,” he said.
And, McHenry said he hopes his love of travel and learning history inspires his students.
“I want my classroom to be a place that I would want to be as a student, and part of that means that [I want] the material I’m [teaching]to be as engaging as possible. I want it to be as accessible as possible,” McHenry said. “I want it to be something where my students are interested in showing up every day because they’re going to learn something new.”