When I first realized that the new New York State assessments would require knowledge of historical thinking skills four years ago, I was honestly excited. Rote memorization had never made me fulfilled as a history teacher. I’ve always preferred to teach my students to think, and I was happy that I would now be teaching them to think about history.
We see this phrase “teaching is a political act” often times when teachers are defending a political stance they have taken on social media or in the classroom. However, while this phrase is often utilized, it seems that its meaning is often obfuscated by rhetoric. Before anyone enters the teaching profession, they must really understand why teaching is inherently political and how it automatically influences the way one interacts with students.
As I’ve become more involved in the teaching community, I’ve noticed a growing tendency towards turning history into a series of craft projects. This issue has been very well documented by Jennifer Gonzalez (Cult of Pedagogy) in an article titled “Is Your Lesson a Grecian Urn?”
Edited to note that while this post was written for Social Studies, these practices can carry over easily to any other subject. Both the Math and the ELA teacher at my grade level have adopted very similar practices.
Last year I attended a workshop by Rick Wormlei. Over the years I’ve been a teacher, I’ve developed a hesitancy and “leeriness”of any and all workshop presenters. I’ve been to enough bad workshops over the years, and sometimes, they were just awful.