Meet John Sharon, who is chair of the social studies department, a ninth grade advisor, a soccer and basketball coach, and an active member of the Diversity Committee.
Q: What drew you to Fenn four years ago?
A. I knew John Fitzsimmons [Fenn faculty member], who is an amazing ambassador for the school. And second, it was Fenn’s mission statement. I was on campus one evening with my son, waiting for a friend of his (John Fitzsimmons’ son) to return from a wrestling match and I saw the mission statement on a wall. And I thought, “Wow. That’s a really strong statement. I wonder what it looks like in practice. I wonder if they can actually do that.” A couple of years later I got invited to interview here, and I saw immediately in the boys and the teachers I met that the mission statement is true to its word. Amazing.
Q. What do you enjoy most about teaching here?
A. I love that Fenn has a wide and generous orthodoxy when it comes to the word “school.” Yes, school happens in the classroom, but it also happens in All School Meeting, on the sports field, at recess, in the hallways, at lunch. And teachers work extraordinarily hard to make sure the boys treat each other well. It’s also a place where ideas matter, among both students and teachers. The students are terrific—thoughtful, motivated, and kind; and I absolutely love my colleagues—they are among the finest that the teaching profession has to offer.
Q. What do you hope to provide boys with and what do you hope they take away from your classes?
A. I want to provide my students with a window to the greater world, with its incredible array of diverse cultures and people groups, so that they can see that the world is a rich and complex and beautiful place. I also hope they learn that there are multiple ways to solve complex problems. I try to give my ninth graders scenarios that replicate issues in the “real” world because eventually they are going to grow up and have to enter into and solve a variety of problems with global implications. I hope the boys come away with confidence in their own abilities to think both independently (thinking for themselves) and interdependently (feeding off the ideas of others). I see my classroom as a banquet where they can come sample various flavors. But I want them to leave hungry for more—more ideas, more diversity, more problems that are begging to be solved.
Q. What are your passions and interests bedsides teaching?
A. I love singing and playing music (harmonica), going for long walks with my wife, watching my kids play sports, and writing.