Friday, December 30, 2016

Hello, My Name Is...

Introducing oneself on the internet is like wearing one of the red or blue “Hello, My Name Is:” labels ubiquitous at public meetings.  One’s writing is often illegible, nervous tics surface through written peculiarities—hearts or “x” over “i,” BOLD ALL CAPS, etc.—and one has to wonder how many people really care enough to learn yet another new name.

It is with this overwhelming spirit of optimism that I introduce myself and this blog. Live American History was started to accomplish a few specific goals:

  • To encourage myself to become a more reflective teacher by analyzing the successes and failures of my lessons and classroom content
  • To share original lessons and content that engages and transforms my students with fellow educators
  • To expand my Personal Learning Network (PLN) and connect with other content-area and grade-level teachers to share ideas and resources

​This is my eighth year in the classroom as a social studies teacher and I've taught a variety of classes at the high-school, college, and now middle-school level.  What have I learned from the variety of my classroom experiences?  Here’s the short list:

  • Teaching is a humbling experience.
  • When kids fail, I often feel that I have failed.  I believe there's a direct correlation between student achievement and teacher involvement.
  • We need to work closely with colleagues within and out of our discipline.  I’ve worked with teachers who fail to prepare students for the next year or who refuse to cross content areas.  It sucks.  Isolation within a grade or subject area isn’t going to work anymore; not if we want 21st century graduates.
  • Adapt or die.
  • You have to be a performer. Every. Single. Day.
  • Kids value connection, not history.  As much as it pains me to say this, most students do not share my level of excitement for the democratization of Christianity through the Second Great Awakening or the preponderance of minstrelsy in antebellum America.  What they do value is relationships.

Make sure to follow me on Twitter @theshoe_CMS.

I'm glad to have you along for the ride!