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Gardiner Middle School teacher receives honor

by: SUBMITTED - Gardiner Middle School teacher Ben Altiero teaches U.S. geography, economics, civics and history through the Civil War. An eighth-grade social studies teacher in Oregon City has been selected by the Veterans of Foreign Wars as a National Citizenship Education Teacher in recognition of his efforts promoting international understanding.

Gardiner Middle School teacher Ben Altiero teaches U.S. geography, economics, civics and history through the Civil War. Altiero was a supervising teacher in Ghana and traveled through Europe, so he makes connections between local and worldwide experiences, especially with how different Africa is socially and economically.

“I think students can have a stronger understanding of what it means to be a citizen when they can see what citizenship means in different parts of the world and that a key part of citizenship is bringing those other forms of citizenship into our own country or community,” he said.

Although the recognition at an event in December was based around citizenship, Altiero thinks he stands out for tying civics to the real world.

“When students see how this affects them in the real world, the buy-in to learn (and some of this civics stuff is really dry and kinda boring) soars,” he said.

Altiero said he is “really passionate about education and more specifically civic awareness,” and that energy is obvious to his students and colleagues.

Matthew Vossburg nominated his teacher for the award, saying Altiero’s class is his favorite. “He is also really funny, nice and cool,” Vossburg wrote. “He lets our class use iPods, while all the other teachers yell, ‘no phones, no iPods.’ We don’t get to use them unless we show him we are working hard on our work.”

Altiero once told his class that if it did well, students would get to pick their reward, and they could even make him shave his hair or wear a dress.

“I could care less what I look like as long as you succeed,” he said.




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