In 2012, I participated as a teacher-member of the Albert H. Small Normandy Institute. At the time, I thought it was the culmination of my personal and professional ambitions. But as I saw the effects of the centerpiece Fallen Soldier project on the fifteen young men and women who traveled to France, I realized that the program was only the beginning of a second act of my teaching career. The experiences I have had since have reaffirmed my commitment to my teaching philosophy, as it relates to the vitality of my students, my district, my city, my state, and my nation.
My teaching philosophy has always been rooted in the lessons Toledo learned from World War II. Many people talk in generalities about "preparing students today for a twenty-first century world." My primary objective is that my students have an understanding of how our nation, our state, and our city got to where they are today, and become active citizens to create a better tomorrow.
I believe that social studies, more than any other discipline, prepares our students for whatever future awaits them by helping them become aware of how decisions have been made in the past, what trade-offs are inherent in making decisions, and how other people perceive those decisions. The World War II class has helped me to help students make a more personal connection with this than ever before.