Mahmoud Hegazy talks to PHS students

Mahmoud Hegazy, a visiting Arabic teacher, talks to Plymouth High School students.

PHS hosting Arabic teacher

Posted January 23, 2017

Plymouth High School again has a visiting Arabic teacher, thanks to the Teachers of Critical Languages program offered through the U.S. Department of State.

Mahmoud Hegazy is teaching the facilitated Arabic class at PHS. His wife, Lamees, will help students build their conversation skills.

PHS has offered Arabic since it first hosted a visiting Teacher of Critical Languages in 2010. Mr. Hegazy offers many reasons to study Arabic:

  • Arabic is the fifth most commonly spoken native language in the world.
  • There is a high demand and low supply of Arabic speakers in the Western world.
  • There are financial incentives for learning Arabic.
  • Arabic-speaking nations are a fast-growing market for trade.
  • Arabic-speaking peoples have made significant contributions to world civilization.
  • The Arab-speaking world has a rich cultural heritage.
  • Knowing Arabic can promote intercultural understanding.
  • Arabic influence is evident in many other languages.
  • The United States has an Arab-American minority.

The current PHS Arabic class has six students, who began their coursework in the fall using various resources. “Having Mahmoud here has renewed their desire to learn Arabic,” said PHS language teacher Laura Koebel. “It has made the language come to life for them.”

Plymouth is sharing Mr. Hegazy with Madison East High School; he will be in Plymouth one week each month through the end of the school year. During the weeks that he is in Madison, he will interact with the students here using online video conferencing.

Mr. Hegazy is from northeastern Egypt, where he taught English to Egyptian students in the mornings and Arabic through the British Consulate in the afternoons.

He arrived in the United States in July 2016 for an orientation, then spent the fall teaching at Mentor High School in Ohio. He and his wife arrived in Madison in early December and came to Plymouth in mid-January.

This is his first visit to the United States. “This is a large change for me,” he said. “I came to teach Arabic and to learn.”

He said many of his misconceptions have been dispelled, as he has found American students to be well-disciplined and eager to learn. “I have learned that American students are not disruptive in class, but rather sweet and attentive,” he said.

He in turn hopes to dispel stereotypes about people from Arabic-speaking countries. “Please don’t believe all that you hear from others,” he said.

Mr. Hegazy toured Ohio and is looking forward to seeing the sights of Wisconsin. He is even more excited about meeting with people in Plymouth and giving presentations to community groups on Egyptian culture and cuisine, the Arabic language, and the differences between Arab countries. Anyone interested in having him speak can contact Mrs. Koebel at PHS, 893-6911.

Learn more:
• Check out the Innovative Opportunities section of our District Report Card to learn more about the unparalleled opportunities for international experiences available to our students.

Mahmoud Hegazy

Mahmoud Hegazy