Why I teach history

My sophomores are starting to blog today. I gave them a prompt about the value of studying empires from 400 years ago or the ways that our own views influence the way we view history. I wanted to blog alongside them, but it didn’t seem fair for me to answer the prompts I created. I have thought a lot about those questions. So I asked if anyone had a prompt for me. One girl asked me why I teach history. My first response was that I had already blogged about that, but then I realized that it has been a while, if ever, since I have considered exactly that question. So here goes.

My mom influenced my worldview in ways I didn’t even know. We spent many vacations in Williamsburg, she worked as a volunteer at the Maryland Historical Society, and she loved antiques and antique shows. I didn’t always appreciate how steeped in history my formative years were.

When I was in high school, I didn’t love history class. In fact, I took three languages my senior year. I was going to major in International Relations in college and do something with finance or language. Then, I found that the courses I loved the most were the political science courses that were really contemporary history courses.

I stumbled upon teaching almost by default. I was looking for a job when some grad school plans fell through, and I randomly sent out my resume. One school took a chance on me, and to make a long story short I was hooked. It took me a while to realize that I wanted to teach at the high school level. I had aspirations of being a college professor until I got a sense of what that world was like.

My mother always told me to do what I loved and in turn I would love what I do. I followed that advice and it brought me to where I am today, which is where I think I should be. So, I guess the reason I teach history is the influence of my mom.

Thanks to my student for the prompt. I have never quite thought about the question she posed in the way that I did today.


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