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Arlington professor takes ancient view

Posted by Katrina Ballard  September 27, 2010 09:00 AM

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When classes resumed this month, Arlington resident Maureen Toner was excited to incorporate real-life examples into her curriculum at Boston College High School. The recipient of the school’s third annual Martha Winchenbaugh Faculty Development Grant, she recently spent two weeks in Egypt studying political, cultural, and economic connections among ancient civilizations.

While in Egypt, the Latin and Greek teacher and moderator of BC High’s Homeric Academy visited the Museum of Egyptian Antiquities in Cairo; the Kom el-Dikka excavation in Alexandria; the Oracle Temple of Zeus Ammon in the Siwa Oasis; the Valley of the Kings and Valley of the Nobles in Luxor; and numerous pyramids, temples, and tombs.

Despite wearing long, conservative clothing on dusty, tour-filled days that typically exceeded 100 degrees, Toner said she is grateful to have fulfilled her lifelong travel goal, after having already toured Italy, Sicily, and Greece. She was particularly excited to visit the Oracle Temple, where she walked in small circles to ensure that she was literally retracing the footsteps of Alexander the Great.

‘‘I wanted to see what he saw, from the inscriptions on the wall to the apertures where the sunlight came in. I’m a total geek, but it was awesome,’’ said Toner, who took more than 700 photos during the trip.

‘‘Sometimes when you teach history, it seems as if each culture exists in its own little snow globe, but that’s obviously not true,’’ she added. ‘‘I really want to make it clear to my students that cultures can interact without conflict.’’

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