Teacher Profile: New import Mr. Hamlett

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Teacher Profile: New import Mr. Hamlett

Alpin Yukseloglu, Campus News Reporter

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France and the United States have vastly different education systems, and switching from one to the other can be a challenge. Mr. Bill Hamlett of the Language Department, however, makes it look easy.

Having experienced both education systems, Mr. Hamlett notes that the shift from the French curriculum, which requires teachers to conform to national tests, to the American one is quite an adjustment to make. “I’m used to teaching classes of upwards of 30 students,” Mr. Hamlett says, “This is completely different.”

When contrasting Kent to his previous position in France, he explains that the culture of the school is radically different. “The best thing about Kent, in terms of education for any student,” Mr. Hamlett says, “is that we are guaranteed that the students are in security and will be protected whatever happens to them. That means that we know that they are getting fed, we know that they’re getting medical care, we know that they are free of whatever violences that might be in a lot of kids’ home life that might affect their learning experience. It’s a community that’s focused, that has values, and that is in many senses an ideal place to learn.”

With a degree in modern language and writing studies from Texas Christian University (TCU) and a masters in literary theory from École Normale Supérieure (ENS), Mr. Hamlett has never doubted where his academic endeavors were leading him. He comments, “I have always known I wanted to be a language teacher.”

Outside the classroom, Mr. Hamlett hosts the philosophy club in his apartment on Wednesdays and pursues his interest of poetry. And into the classroom, he brings a teaching style that draws from these interests. “I studied philosophy, literary theory and poetic translation,” says Mr. Hamlett, “and I feel like those things enrich my teaching because philosophy, thought and poetry are all involved in language.”

A year in his class is full of discussions, debates, and other activities not conventionally found in textbooks. “My goals for students aren’t prescriptive,” says Mr. Hamlett, “My main goal is that students learn to learn a language — that they learn to listen to things that are very different and to different ways of understanding the world, and that they learn about language and about how language functions and shapes our lives.”

We welcome Mr. Hamlett and the breath of fresh air he brings to Kent School!

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