“High School Freshman US History. 7:00 am. We were all groggy, and couldn’t bring ourselves to care. Then our teacher came into the room. He was young, full head of hair, tortoiseshell glasses and a white collared shirt with the sleeves rolled up to his elbows. He took some chalk, and then by hand proceeded to draw an entire map of France, Germany, Poland, and Russia, that was as good as any atlas.
He added capitals, drew major arrows for army groups, the whole ten yards. He then turned around and proceeded to tell us in story format about the Battle of the Somme, one of the deadliest battles in WWI.
For those in the know, it was like Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History. We were riveted. He described the trenches, the weapons being used for the first time, the birthing of a new type of war, a modern war. And the mud, my god…the mud…
After a few months of his US History class, I was in to history. Like I couldn’t get enough of it. I wanted to learn more and more. I got the concept that history matters. If you learn from the past, you can somewhat predict the future, or get badly needed comparative context. But most of all, he made me care about something I couldn’t have given two cares about in the past.
That’s what a great teacher does. They make you care.”