When I was in school, my absolute least favorite subject was history. Ugh. Every year I received my school schedule (back when it was mailed to you, not just found online), and would roll my eyes when I saw my history class. It didn’t matter what type of history! U.S. history, World History, Ancient history. Nope. I just couldn’t stand any of them!
Until one day…
I walked into my American History class in 10th grade to a teacher that was new to the school. She sat at the front of the classroom like she meant business, and I respected that but also went in with the knowledge that I already hated her class and everything she taught. The first few weeks were just getting to know the classroom and procedures, but eventually, we got into the thick of American History.
This time the history I was learning was different… I actually cared and enjoyed it.
No, this couldn’t be right! I hated learning about history! But this time when we got into each different unit, I cared about the people and their background and what they had done for our country. What changed? Had I suddenly become a history guru??
Here’s what I noticed. I was caring about the Wild West and the California Gold Rush because my teacher cared about it. She had a light in her eyes when she taught that she genuinely loved what she was teaching, and passed that passion along to us.
She cared about her students.
She cared about the content she was teaching.
She didn’t just recite historical facts to us, she told us stories about history.
She made me realize that learning and teaching about history and social studies can be exciting and more than facts. It can be full of story telling and looking up to idols, not just memorizing dates and people.
She also taught me a new way of teaching, that we aren’t there solely to cram information into student’s brains, but to build relationships and have them learn to love the material as much as we do. All because she cared.
Check out this TedTalk about teaching history in the 21st century.