Last week I found out what I will be teaching for the coming year. Before I get to that I should mention that the biggest change for me this coming year will be in taking on the responsibilities of department chair. Now, before you go ahead and congratulate me please keep in mind that I don’t have an administrative bone in my body and under normal circumstances you would find this close to the bottom of my list of career goals. Let’s just say that last year included its share of excitement and leave it at that. Part of me is looking forward to this new challenge of working closely with two new teachers and having to help formulate a new history curriculum for our Upper School.
My tenure as chair means that I will be teaching four sections instead of the normal five. Unfortunately, I will not be teaching the survey course in American history; rather, I will teach my normal two sections of AP American history and two sections of my electives each trimester. This means two sections of Civil War in the Fall, two sections of Civil War Memory in the Winter, and two sections of Race and Gender in the Spring. Admittedly, it’s a pretty light load. The AP class teaches itself and as you can imagaine my Civil War classes are a pleasure to teach. I am going to miss not teaching the regular survey course. Those classes offer a number of challenges, including students with a wide range of intellectual ability as well as differing levels of interest in the subject. The most challenging part of the survey course is working to impress upon my students the importance of history and that the study of it can and should be intellectually challenging and fun.
In addition, it looks like I will once again be working with history teachers around the state as part of the Teaching American History Grant program.