Horton plans to continue hobbies, travel


Henry Benton

Paul Horton will retire after over two decades of prioritizing authentic learning for his students. During retirement, Mr. Horton plans to explore and continue new interests, and travel more.

Audrey Park, Editor-in-Chief

History teacher and enthusiast Paul Horton recently published an article on the Lab open forum where he ruminated on his early career. Mr. Horton said young teachers frequently want to share what they know through lectures.

“Fewer and fewer students respond to that kind of approach,” he said. “The key then becomes to set up situations where students have autonomy in what they are learning, something I have tried to do my whole career. I strongly believe that teaching history is teaching thinking.”

He believes true teaching is setting up situations for students to absorb knowledge, experiences Mr. Horton has tried to prioritize for his students, and a method he has tried to emulate for the past 24 years at Lab. 

Mr. Horton will retire at the end of the school year and plans to explore new hobbies while continuing his passion for history. 

He has taught sixth, eighth and all high school grades and history classes ranging from AT United States History to the study of the Four Corners. He said he will miss his students the most. 

“The students are the best. They’re the most curious, they’re passionate and they’re taught to believe that ideas are essential,” he said. “These are the best students one could have.”

Mr. Horton said he hopes his students will remember him as someone who stood for a different set of values than conventional academics. 

He said, “Hopefully, students will value the memories that they have of being in my class, or something other than a greater point, that hopefully, they’ve learned some things that go beyond strict time content, academics.”

Senior Bryan Pan has had Mr. Horton as his teacher for two years. Bryan said he had a lot of fun in Mr. Horton’s classroom and will miss him.

“He teaches in an unorthodox way that is way more engaging than any other history class I’ve had,” Bryan said.

High school secretary Carol Arrington has known Mr. Horton his whole Lab career, and her sons also were in his class. Ms. Arrington said she appreciates him greatly. 

“I know he meant a lot to my sons,” she said. “They enjoyed his classes and appreciated the time he put into them. I am appreciative that my sons had him as a teacher.”

Mr. Horton said the men in his family, including his father and grandfather, have died at early ages, and with that in mind, he hopes to “live life.”

“In my adult life, all I’ve been is a teacher, read and taught history,” he said. “I want to broaden out a bit and take care of myself with the understanding that the males in my family don’t have longevity.”

Despite retiring, Mr. Horton plans to develop a history curriculum on social class and continue unfinished history projects. Outside of history, he is excited to read and immerse himself more in the music scene. 

“I’ll be spending a lot of time in the library and going to Fitzgerald’s in Berwyn to listen to music. I’m not a particularly visual person, but maybe gardening and exploring different interests that I’ve never had time to explore I’ll also do,” he said. 

Mr. Horton plans to travel to Munich and Vienna and said he looks forward to continuing exploring the world, an interest that began when he attended his first year of college in Germany. 

“I’m not a homebody. I don’t like to stay in one place,” he said. “I like to get out and explore places and new places and learn where history is all around you. I’m very curious, so it’s a form of learning.”

Mr. Horton’s mission has been to advocate for a learning environment where students develop into insightful and compassionate learners, the epitome of his educational values. Mr. Horton has done just that, concluding a legendary career and now is excited to expand upon his own interests.  

“He puts his whole self into teaching,” Ms. Arrington said. “He’s got a wonderful personality, and he’s so passionate about teaching and everything he believes in. There is no in-between with him, he’s the real deal.”