I remember it clearly—the day I developed a passion. It was a cool February day in 1995, and I was sitting amongst a large pile of 1940s magazines in the Amelia Gorgas Library on the University of Alabama campus. I was there to find a topic for a history of mass communications project. I found the topic—World War II journalist Ernie Pyle, but most importantly I found a passionate love of all things World War II.
My philosophy is to disregard the textbooks and rely on primary sources and annotated readings of research to convey the importance of history. I want my students to drink up every ounce of first-hand accounts. Research dictates my classroom whether it is locating background on a general or locating a primary source to support the big picture. Each unit requires a primary source research project—we dig into history.
I believe that a teacher’s passion is a vital key to having students enjoy the subject matter—and I am not short on passion for history. In my eight years, I have seen students with a vague interest in history develop into full force “History Channel” groupies with an interest in reading historical material and talking to veterans. I strongly believe that it is because in my classroom students must delve into history.