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Matt Conti Profile

Matt Conti has been at Gann Academy, Watham MA .since 2008. He currently teaches Jewish Studies and World History. 

Conti 2

My 4th year of teaching is well underway and I think I realize now that I've been misled. People tell you that your 3rd year is the year it all comes together. For me it is actually the 4th. I've made enough mistakes, lived through enough bad classes, long nights, and tense parent-teacher conferences, to take everything in stride .I've mastered riding the waves, even when I'm not wild about where it is going.


My first job, following completion of the Educators Program, was teaching Tanakh at the Gann Academy in Boston, MA.  I've been lucky to work at a place where students really care about Tanakh and the Jewish People. Even the ones who are dubious about some of the claims of the Tanakh love to engage and struggle with the text. They ask honest questions and aren't afraid to say that they don't know or don't understand.


Along the way I've done what I can to develop the Jewish Identity of my students. I have had my juniors come up with a personal theology related to the issues that come up in Devarim. I also have had my seniors present their outlook on life through the lens of the four trees mentioned in Gan Eden. I've heard teenagers expound on their views of what beauty is, what their relationship to food is, as well as their beliefs about where good and evil come from.  


This year at Gann we continue to focus on student outcomes. For me I hope students leave my classroom with an ability to think critically and compassionately about the world around them. I hope that they bring the commitment that they have to their school community to whatever community they join once they leave.  I hope students walk away from my class understanding that the Tanakh is their book. It doesn't matter if they  were learning it since Kindergarten or had started only in 9th grade. It is all equally our book.  

I've found its important to have personal notes as a teacher.  My wife, Eva and I live in Jamaica Plain, a hip, green, dog-friendly, neighborhood of Boston with more than a few places to buy micro-brews.  Eva and I always make time for dinner, homemade applesauce and walks with our dog, Jasmine, who has become proficient at squirrel catching.  On the good and bad days I'm always reminded that teaching is just my job. The biggest risk you take in teaching is just getting up in front of the students every day, and my personal notes always remind me I'm more than what I appear to be in my classroom (just like my students).