Teaching Philosophy

My teaching philosophy is that teaching history isn’t about teaching content, it’s about teaching skills. Teaching history is teaching students how to be explorers. History isn’t static, it’s ever-evolving. Each time we experience it through oral histories, speeches, artifacts, or any other primary sources, we experience it through that person’s eyes. I learned history through dates and notes. My love of history developed when I was able to start exploring and seeing that not all history has the right answer. It is more impactful to learn about the bombing of Pearl Harbor through developing background of knowledge and then using primary sources such as oral histories from people that were there, pictures, and President Roosevelt’s speeches. I believe in order to be good stewards of history, students need to have the ability to source documents, put them into historical context, and understand how to read them. In order to learn how to do this, students need teachers who are modeling this on a constant basis. History is full of questions and it’s our job to investigate those questions. If you teach a student how to go about answering those questions, they have those skills after they leave your class. Those are the lasting impressions. Beyond that, teaching students how to have academic conversations with the primary sources so that they have the ability to see beyond what they think and start to form a more solid thought or challenge their thinking by engaging in a meaningful way with other students. The skills needed for life are the same skills needed to learn history. By teaching students this way, they become the secondary sources for history. They develop a sense of understanding about the world around them through their exploration of history. Lastly, in order to best teach these skills, I believe that teaching should be learning constantly, whether it’s through listening to a podcast, attending professional development, networking with colleagues, and expanding your learning circle to help other teachers discover these. When students know you are continuing to learn in order to be the best teacher you can be, they are more apt to want to learn from you. As a whole, learning is not static, it’s fluid and it is important for history teachers to continue to be explorers right along with their students.