Benny Abraham joined Concord Academy’s Modern & Classical Languages Department this year as a Latin teacher. Abraham has taught Latin since 2004, previously teaching 7th-12th graders at the Harpeth Hall School, an all-girls independent school in Nashville, TN, for sixteen years.
Abraham’s journey as a teacher began in graduate school at the University of Missouri, when he taught undergraduates as a TA. While sitting in a professor’s lecture, he explains, “I found what about teaching that is appealing, and that was connecting with students.” Finding joy in teaching and forming bonds with students, Abraham believed he could make a career in teaching, and he did.
Abraham decided to join the CA community for a variety of reasons. While at Harpeth Hall, Abraham was on a committee looking for a director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion when he found the job description for the same position at Concord Academy. Naturally curious about openings for Latin teachers at the same time, Abraham looked deeper into CA, and he was fascinated. According to Abraham, CA’s commitment to maintain an independent curriculum from AP, refrain from ranking students and provide no academic awards all matched his beliefs. “I don’t think that academic achievement is something that should be given as a prize or rewarded in a way that shows one person to be better than another,” says Abraham. These values, coupled with a wonderful interview experience during which he talked to many brilliant members of the CA community, convinced him to apply.
For Abraham, Latin is an important pathway for students to bond and draw parallels between the present and the past. He believes that although history constantly changes, we still encounter many challenges today that might have been met by ancient Romans. Therefore, teaching about Rome has an impact on the present. “In my class on Sallust, for example, ” adds Abraham, “we constantly draw on world’s events today.” Abraham also simply loves the versatility of the Latin language. According to him, “there are a lot of things you can do with Latin language that you can’t do in other languages. I find it very satisfying, I love it, and I want to share it with everyone.”
Outside of teaching, Abraham loves to play tennis. For him, tennis is a way to exercise, relieve stress and make friends outside of the professional setting, and he would not hesitate to make time from other endeavors to step on the court once in a while. He is also an avid fan of the Lord of the Rings. When asked about his favorite faction to lead an army of, Abraham said, without thinking, “Ents! I would love to lead an army of Ents. My favorite character is actually Treebeard!” He also loves to take his family to Walden Italian Kitchen for pizza.
Abraham is very excited to continue exploring CA, as this has been a huge transition for him. Coming from a comparatively conservative school with a school uniform and strict school rules, Abraham is adjusting to the freedom and the different schedule at CA. For him, “having a lot of freedom is both very freeing and terrifying. With that autonomy comes a lot of responsibility as well.” He looks forward to this year at CA and, as he jokingly said, no longer “not knowing what I don’t know!”
Talented, amicable, eloquent, Abraham is a wonderful Latin teacher, and let us look forward to a fabulous year with him!