Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Hello World!

I know, it's a cliche title, but some cliches are meant to be.

So, hello world. Who am I?

I currently teach 10th grade World History II (1500-Present) and 11th US History in a public high school in Virginia. My philosophy of education is so complicated in my head that last time I sat down to write it all out it worked best as a very complex thinking web. (I wonder what I did with the Inspiration version of it I made...) Still, you could sum it up as the belief that the purpose of public education is to create good citizens, and that in order to create good citizens in this day and age we need to teach our children two main things: information literacy and decision making skills.

You may notice that despite being a social studies teacher (a field usually characterized by content-based tests, i.e. names and dates) I firmly believe that the point of school is skills, not knowledge. Yes, there is basic knowledge that you need to exercise these skills. Yes, there are things that my students ought to know about their own history before they graduate high school. But it's the skills that will serve them well wherever they go.

Enough philosophizing. Time to answer the question on all your minds.

The answer is 42.

Also, I decided to name this blog "Where's the Teacher?" for two reasons. The first is an attempt to deal humorously with the fact that because of my height and apparently youthful appearance, new students and parents on orientation night regularly walk into the room, look around, and wonder where the teacher got to. Even when I wear a full-on suit, somebody thinks I'm a student. The other reason is because I like to think that I am working towards a student-centered style of teaching that should mean that when people walk into my class, they have to take a minute to find me wherever I am in the midst of students working self-directedly, rather than just look up front for the lecturer.

Do I still lecture occasionally? Heck yeah. History is fun because it is a story. Someone's gotta tell the stories, and I get my turn too.