My freshmen read the scene from Shakespeare’s Henry V containing the famous “Band of Brothers” speech at the battle of Agincourt. We then watched the Kenneth Branaugh version. Yay culture! If you haven’t seen it before, please take five minutes to do so; it’s a fine piece of Shakespeare and an excellent pre-game pep talk. World History has been working our way through the Plantagenet family tree this week. We did John I and the Magna Carta yesterday. Today we fast-forwarded to Henry V, and will spend a few days on the War of Roses starting tomorrow.
When I began my teaching program in college, I chose social studies as my primary field because I was a sociology major, and that was the closest option Massachusetts licensing had. However, I really do know very little about history – AP US history in high school, and a course in the world wars taught very poorly in college. Honestly, while I certainly enjoy studying history, I have about as much formal training as I do in English, making me feel grossly under-qualified on a daily basis. I only know about the War of the Roses for this week because I read Philippa Gregory’s The Kingmaker’s Daughter this summer. It tells the story of Richard III’s wife in novel format. My husband is the real history buff. If not for his nightly trainings over my material I’d be lost. Our textbook is old and boring, and I want my students to find passion in history. I just wish I knew more!
I hope I get another chance to teach history and do a better job. I hardly get enough time to get my lessons together for the next day, let alone read ahead and study a period with detail, and I always feels like in short-changing my students. I don’t do a good job teaching them note taking skills, since I often have Wikipedia pulled up on my iPad during lecture and rarely get a chance to put my lecture together ahead of time. I struggle with reinventing the wheel every day; I need to do a better job of using my resources. Hundreds of lesson plans exist online for my various fields, and I need to use them more.
One of the big issues we explored in my social science theory classes at the Harvard Graduate School of Education was how to teach history in a manner that was respectful and all-inclusive. How do we avoid just focusing on dead white guys and make everyone in the classroom part of the narratives? But there’s simply no TIME!
It is a small comfort (very small) to know thousands of other teachers out there struggle with a sense of inadequacy at times as well. A blog I recently began following, Gatsby in L.A., did a nice job making me feel better today. Worth a read!