English Teacher Keith Perkins Returns from Sabbatical

By Aaron Hook, Ethan Yuppa, and Jonah Carleton

He’s back! Keith Perkins, a Sophomore English teacher at Hills, has made his return from Europe, where he spent half a year on sabbatical.

In case you don’t know what sabbatical is, it is basically a paid leave that a teacher takes to learn and teach in different places around the world. Teachers can either take a half year break for full pay, or a full year break for half pay. In Perkins’ case, he chose to take the six-month option and receive full pay.

Perkins traveled to 4 countries, Ireland, France, Switzerland, and Italy, during his time on sabbatical. He traveled with his wife and two 3-year-old sons. He enjoyed all of the countries, Ireland in particular. He said he and his family really “warmed up” to Ireland. “The people were generally nice and tried to make you feel like you were welcome there,” said Perkins.  Every day, he and his family would go outside and look at the wide green fields and take in everything it had to offer. He described the roads in the countryside as muddy and barely roads at all.

Perkins also enjoyed his trip to Italy. He visited a very touristy area, Lake Como, famous for its long lakes and rocky beaches. His family resided in a small apartment where you could see the water out the window. 

In France, Perkins visited many sites and tourist attractions. One of the more significant ones was Mont Saint Michel, a church with a huge stairway up to it. Perkins described it as a “rigorous hike” up the stairs, and he did not attempt the climb hike. The Church is on a mountain of the same name that rises out of the water below. He also spent two days in Paris- where he had some friends he knew when he visited there when he was in his twenties. While in Paris, he also visited the famous Notre Dame church. Perkins also mentioned that the area he visited is currently flooded. “If you went there right now, the Seine River water level is very high. The city of Paris is flooding.”  

In Switzerland, Perkins enjoyed the great view of the St. Luc Mountains, which still had snow on them, even in the warm month of August. He talked about how every morning, he and his son would go to get a piece of bread, called a Baguette, from a place down the road. “It was amazing to see how even in August, there were massive amounts of snow on the mountaintops”.

When describing the schools overseas, he said that there were almost no phones being used in the classrooms. He said the phone policy is very strict, as the punishment for seeing a phone during class is having it taken away for a whole week. When talking about adjusting to driving on the “wrong” side of the road, he said that it took some time to settle in, and almost got into a few accidents. He also said that the food across Europe tasted generally better and healthier.  After coming back home, he said that his life is “simplified”. “We don’t need TV anymore. We have all our movies on Netflix, I really didn’t watch much TV over there.” The Internet was very bad in Europe, so he said that he had to go down to the village if he wanted to use the internet. After his Sabbatical, Perkins has some advice for his students: “Go see the world. Try to go to as many places and countries as you can.”