Why do you want to be a teacher? The question most often asked when people heard what my major was in college. The pay is not that great when you consider the most well-paid jobs – doctors, lawyers, and sports players – all had to have teachers to teach them how to do their jobs. Many say that having the weekends off and 2 months during the summer is what draws people to the job, but if you consider that many teachers put in 12-18 hour work days and then have duty at sporting events on the weekends for nine months straight, then the two months recovery does not seem quite enough. However, I suspect that a few teachers – those really there because they love the children – would tell you the real reason they wanted to be teachers and the reason they continue to be despite all the politics, drama, and work. It’s the reason I want to be a teacher.
The look on the face of a child when something inside clicks and they really learn something is the reason I want to teach. For so many students and even some teachers, history is just the rote memorization of names, dates, and facts of people that lived too long ago to really matter. However, it is so much more than that. Understanding that those people were just like you and me and responded exceptionally to extraordinary circumstances makes names, dates, and facts so much more rich. Understanding context can completely change the effects of data gathered, and knowing how our practices today are affected in some form or fashion by history makes it come alive for each one of us. History can be defined as the past events of a period in time or in the live or development of a people, an institution, or a place.
I believe to succeed in this world, there are two vital pieces of information that you must be absolutely sure of. Where you come from and where you are going, and you simply can’t have one without the other. You can’t know where you are going without knowing where you come from. That’s history – where you come from. Your personal history, your family history, your ancestral history, your social history, etc… Where you fit in this world – past, present, and future versions of this world. I just want to be along for the journey of students finding little pieces of their personal histories and future stories.