About

josietdog

About this Blog

Nearly every time I tell someone new what I do for work (“I teach high school History”), I get one of the following responses:

“Oh, History was always my worst subject.”

“I hated History in high school, but now I think it’s really interesting!”

“I had ONE History class I really liked, but my teacher was just a good storyteller.”

In essence, I get a variant of, “I ALWAYS HATED HISTORY.”

Science, Tech, Engineering and Math teachers get all of the sexy stuff (maker spaces, design thinking, project-based learning, blah blah blah), and History Teachers (we teach mostly about white guys in wigs, right?) get the dreaded question, “Why is that even, like, relevant?” Everyone expects History class to be super-lame and ultra boring.

I am on a mission to change that! This blog is a space where I plan and reflect on new, exciting, and research-based teaching practices; in short, my efforts to make History my students’ favorite class.

About Me

I have been working in education since 2009, and have been a classroom teacher since 2011. I have also worked in college counseling, and have designed curriculum for standardized test preparation and the International Baccalaureate (IB). I currently teach high school social studies, and work as an Assistant Examiner for the IB. I earned a BA in History from Vassar College, where I also received the Clyde and Sally Griffen Prize for Excellence in American History. My Master’s in History is from Northwestern University. I am currently working with Stanford University’s National Board Resource Center as I pursue candidacy for National Board Certification in Social Studies-History, Adolescence and Young Adulthood.

In the classroom, I try to keep the following in mind:

All students have the capacity to learn.

Real, actual, true learning is a result of experience, mistakes, and successes. Real, actual, true learning seldom results from memorizing and regurgitating what the teacher has to say.

Most of the time my students benefit when I get out of the way.

And this is what I think about History education:

The best history teaching mimics the way History is actually done by academics and professional historians. Just as Science students should get to actually do experiments, History students should have the opportunity to work with sources, question established narratives, and construct their own well-supported beliefs and opinions about the past and why it matters.

A strong education in History makes for a more grounded, sensitive, thoughtful, and compassionate individual, and one who is attuned to contingencies and possibilities. I think the world needs individuals like that.