Pravia Preaches Positivity: How one teacher keeps a semblance of joy in a trying year

by Atticus W.

There is no doubt about it: this year has been challenging. Whether it is health, finances, education, or all of the above, people around the world have all faced unexpected obstacles in the past year, and that may persevere in the coming months. However, one teacher is spreading enthusiasm unhindered by the drudgery of current issues. This man has not let the trying times get him down, and his strong spirit says he never will.

Mr. Pravia, who recently turned 32, has been teaching history at the Duxbury High School since 2015.

“I really fell in love with history,” said Mr. Pravia. 

An inspiration for his choice was his high school history teacher, Mr. Patton. 

“He inspired me because he was so passionate and allowed students to voice their opinions openly in a free exchange of ideas.”

Not only is Mr. Pravia a teacher of history, but he has been an instructor of martial arts since his middle school years. He never gave up on his martial arts journey, and now instructs karate as well.

After teaching in the Hingham Public School system, Pravia settled at Duxbury High School, and has been teaching there ever since.

Every morning, Mr. Pravia comes in smiling beneath his mask, with energy in his voice, excited for the day ahead. Occasionally, he will play music or videos pertaining to the subject matter to energize and inspire his students. No matter what happens in the world or in his town, he never lets his happiness lessen.

“Education is essential, and we cannot let negative situations change our learning.”

During the past year, academic institutions have suffered greatly. All across the country schools have closed, education has become steadily worse, and everyone is trying to do the absolute best they can with the situation no one asked for. Although Pravia tries to spread joy and educate as best as possible, he knows very well the morally deprecating learning issues that have arisen. 

“It is hard to keep up morale at a time like this,” he said. “Emotionally speaking, the mountains were high, but the valleys were low”. 

Not only has the actual school changed, but the tactics of learning as well. 

“We used to do a lot more project-based learning and of course social distancing makes that hard now,” said Mr. Pravia. “I hope that next year that students will have more project-based learning.” 

But he does not let that stand in his way and he continues to persevere in the face of challenges, breaking down the metaphorical walls of communication and allowing discussions to arise by sparking conversation and asking discussion-raising questions.

Mr. Pravia will continue to inspire students, teach history, and spread joy, no matter the issues standing in his way. He is a template for all teachers and a model for all students. A man of integrity, dignity, and positive spirit. Students with a passion for learning should all be so lucky to have an educator of such qualities.

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