by Jason Wainio
History and Latin teacher
Over the course of the year, the 6th Graders have been learning about ancient life in locations such as China, India, Israel and Rome. None of us could have predicted the incredible shift from studying each day in the classroom to joining each other in the virtual world. Although we have gotten used to this new vehicle for learning, it was definitely time to change the routine up a bit.
We did that during this past Wednesday, as we connected with one of our Country School alumni. The 6th Grade history class was so excited to welcome Noah Hastings '11 to join in their Zoom time. Mr. Hastings is currently teaching ancient history to 9th Graders at King's Academy in the country of Jordan. He was happy to share some of his experiences regarding living and teaching in Jordan and also discuss some of the great archaeological sites that exist in the country.
Mr. Hastings describes Jordan as the "quiet house on a noisy block." Being surrounded by countries such as Israel, Palestine, Iraq, Syria, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia, Jordan has been in a position to encourage and facilitate dialogue between countries of the region.
He also shared that the weekend in Jordan is considered Friday and Saturday, which was a bit of a shift from living in the United States. Prior to the quarantine, Mr. Hastings would use his Saturday's to visit a new place in Jordan each week. He shared with the students some of his photographs and information regarding Wadi Ghuweir, Mukawir, Kerak, Gerash and Petra.
Mr. Hastings also shared with the 6th Grade the influence of a group of people called the Nabataneans who inhabited and ruled over the area prior to the arrival of the Roman Empire. The Nabataneans were essential in bridging the Silk Road between East and West and created the trade hub of Petra.
Mr. Hastings shared so much with the class in a short period. It was also great to catch up with him and talk about living abroad during this unusual time. He also let us know that he is still an avid player of Ultimate Frisbee, participating on a local team in Jordan and even competing in tournaments in other countries in the region. The students were quick to spot the array of discs he had mounted on his wall behind him.
I wish to personally thank Noah for sharing his time and talents with us. It means so much to connect with him. I also want to thank Mrs. Liz Lightfoot for facilitating this opportunity in her role as Alumni Relations Director. We loved hearing about another culture to learn about and celebrate our differences and commonalities.
Editor's Note: Since last fall, Noah Hastings has been teaching at King's Academy, a boarding and day school for students in Grades 7-12 in Jordan, where he is a Teaching Fellow in the Department of History, Religion, and Society. After graduating from The Country School, he went on to Choate Rosemary Hall, enrolling in the Arabic and Middle Eastern Studies program. He earned his Bachelor's degree in Near Eastern studies with a minor in archaeology from Princeton University. He also spent some time at Pembroke College in England studying archaeology with the University of Cambridge's Department of Archaeology. Mr. Hastings has worked in the field on archaeological projects in England and Portugal and is an avid outdoorsman with experience working as a summer camp counselor.
Earlier this year he met up with two other Country School alums who were in Jordan. First up was Tara Maloney '13, a student at Georgetown's School of Public Service who was in Jordan for a junior term abroad. The two had lunch together in Amman.
Next was Gabe Davis '10, who was in Morocco on a Boren Scholarship after graduating from the University of Chicago. They, too, met up at Amman before Gabe headed home for a winter break.