Having been a world history and world cultures teacher for close to 15 years, the study of World War II has been a mainstay in the social studies curricula. It wasn’t until I began teaching International Baccalaureate History of the Americas five years ago that I began to move beyond scratching the surface of teaching World War II. My study of World War II became time consuming and overwhelming but worthwhile at the same time.
The proverbial expression “experience is the best teacher” coincides perfectly with my teaching philosophy. Traveling to the places I actually teach about has been a great experience for me, of course, but also for my students. I am sure a teacher can study religiously about a subject in order to help their students learn, but nothing beats being a student’s personal history guide.
What may set me apart from some other history teachers or teachers in general for that matter is the democratic nature of my classroom. I encourage students to tell me what they want to learn…what interests and excites them. An interested student works much harder than one who hates the topic!