Peaking in the Classroom

Zarin Mahmud, Staff Writer

French teacher and a maestro of the language, Benjamin Peak joined the Dulaney Foreign Language team two weeks into the beginning of the school year. The school did not expect him to take the language classes by storm and quickly flip the classroom structure, which he ever so seamlessly executed with his colleagues’ support. Peak has also begun supporting the French club to involve himself the best he can in the Dulaney community.

Peak, currently teaching all of the French classes in the building with over ten years of experience, holds a Bachelor’s and Master’s in French literature with a specialization in secondary education. He is also currently finishing up a Ph.D. in the same subject. 

Growing up immersed in French culture and language from the ripe age of eight has conditioned Peak to believe in lifelong learning and passing on this very skill to his students. 

“I’ve been learning, and I say learning because we are lifelong learners, I feel like, or at least we should be,” said Peak. 

Peak said “I want students to realize that every student is capable of learning a foreign language. Every student is a language person because we all learn how to communicate in one way or another…I want students to have fun and engage and be able to communicate as interaction is the biggest thing.”

Peak’s classroom is an interactive space where his students can play with the language and make mistakes to ultimately learn to interact, build bridges and connect with others.

“My job is not to be the expert in the class, my job is to be a guide. If I’m doing my job correctly, my classroom should be flipped. My students should have the opportunity to speak and my job is to guide them into learning,” said Peak. 

Citing the tough patch of quarantine, Peak notes that each teacher and each student is re-adjusting to a classroom environment. Peak is aiming to better his classes by restructuring them to include his student-centered teaching philosophy. 

“This is a beautiful opportunity to fit [my] model the best I can… And I’m not always successful, but I think we’re making good progress,” summarized Peak, establishing how much a teacher-student partnership thrives in his classroom. 

As he incorporates his forward-thinking curricula and structure into his classroom, Peak hopes he has joined Dulaney for the long run, to not only allow students to think meaningfully in French but to also help them be momentous and powerful members of a global community.