Thursday, July 4, 2013

My Hero Speaks - David McCullough

From the time you’re tiny, people ask, "what do you want to be when you grow up?" I finally figured it out a couple of years ago. I want to be David McCullough. He’s a tremendous writer, a great historian. He’s funny, charming, brilliant, and right.

Right, because he understands that we are historically illiterate as a nation. Mostly because kids hate history. I actually love getting kids that have the nerve to march up to me the first day of school and tell me how much they hate history.  I love them, because usually I can win them over by the end of school. And like David McCullough, they have learned that history is stories of people, and they want to know more.
60 Minutes just did a bit on David McCullough and in it, he said such an important thing, I wanted to reach through the TV and squeeze him:

He said that teachers should not have degrees in Education. They should have degrees in subjects which they should thoroughly know and then teach what they love.
I utterly agree.

I have a degree in history. A master’s degree. But almost more importantly, I love it.
That’s why I consider myself a teacher. Not an educator.

The educator’s world is filled with jargon and abbreviations and specialists who think they know the best way to do things. The bureaucracy wraps about me and suffocates me. Its unending complication gives me a headache. The cry for this form of teaching or that way of planning or of demanding more and more testing is false to me.
That is not teaching.

As a teacher, I simply seek to open my students’ minds. I struggle and ponder and even dream of ways to pour knowledge into them. To turn the light of learning on in their hearts. I want my students to be able to think and read and make connections and interpret information and to see how decisions made a hundred years ago still affect them. To know that they cannot simply ignore the problems of today that they are going to need to be citizens of action in order to keep the freedoms this country has had and to stop the incursions on those freedoms. And to do this, they’re going to need to know their history.
This is what the children of our nation need.
This what dedicated teachers across the country, day in and day out, who spend hours planning and grading and spending their own family’s money for supplies for their classrooms want. Successful, well informed students and these education master degrees that are found everywhere on the internet and in colleges and universities are not going to make people better teachers. And demanding more and different forms of testing isn’t going to improve their students’ ability to learn either.

Teaching teachers to love their subject whether history, or math or whatever it is and then letting them teach that love in the classroom, that is what is going to make the difference.
Happy 4th of July -- And thanks to all of the men and women who have fought public, private, organized and unofficial battles to bring freedom to our country and may those still serving on our behalf stay safe.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for posting this on facebook - I am glad to know about your blog! My husband is a real history buff and we both love David McCullough. This country needs more teachers like you! :)


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