Fight for Your Mind

I remember when I first envisioned becoming a teacher. I imagined changing the status quo. Inspiring children to learn, to question and to lead. I pictured myself engaging the students in the curriculum in a way completely new to them.

One of the most exciting opportunities I saw was in the area of history. I love history. It was one of my majors in college, and before Teaching Fellows assigned me to elementary school I hoped to be a middle school social studies teacher. As a teacher, I saw myself offering an alternative narrative to the conventional curriculum that focused on multiculturalism and debunked myths and heroes of the traditional American history.

Then I met reality. The first of many obstacles I found myself facing was time. When was I supposed to teach history? Between 30 minutse of SSR, 20 minutes of word study, 90 minutes of literacy, 75 minutes of math, two periods for lunch and prep, that leaves approximately 45 minutes in my day for social studies AND science. Hm.

Secondly, I found myself limited by myself. It is a noble idea to introduce students to an exciting and hopefully more authentic study of history. But as a first, and second year teacher, this has proven to be much easier said than done. And so, the textbook is there for me, as big a crutch as any.

Still, I've strived to at least make history real and relevant to my students. Meanwhile, my current masters class focuses on teaching social studies, and it has reawakened me to the need to breathe life and diversity into the curriculum. I hope I can find time, energy and inspiration to do so. As someone who truly believes in the importance of history, I know the stakes are too high.


Miss A said…
It's truly amazing how important every minute of the day becomes when you boil it down like that...and then factor in how long it takes to quiet a class down and/or deal with disciplinary issues...

I guess I never realized how magically creative teachers have to be, all the time. Don't stress, you'll get it all in there, somehow ;)
Nikta said…
How to add in history? Make it part of the literacy block. That's how I managed to cram it in when I was teaching.

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