I have a keen interest in studying World War II. My interest was sparked as a young man, who was curious to find the answers to questions my parents never adequately addressed. My mother, who was born and raised in Vienna, was 18 when the war ended in May 1945. I gathered a few snippets of information about her life growing up, such as losing her father on the Eastern Front in 1944. My father was born and raised in neutral Ireland, often times crossing over Northern Ireland to smuggle tea, rubber, or cigarettes to sell to willing customers on both sides of the border. This thirst for understanding my parents in their formative years drove me to study history. I have continued my study of the World War II, reading extensively and traveling in both Europe and Asia while serving in the U.S. Army.
My philosophy of teaching has evolved over my career. I see two sets of challenges facing educators today: One is the age-old challenge of engaging students to study history - making it relevant and meaningful. The second challenge is helping our students develop a critical eye for analyzing and recognizing possible bias and other shortfalls of various documents and sources.