Thursday, October 29, 2009

And the rest, as they say, is history

History is cool. I swear.

I have this piece of flair that says "History Buff" that I wear occasionally.

I'm really not, but I like to think I am. And wish I was.

If I could go back in time, I would have majored in history and became a history teacher instead of an elementary school teacher. And the reason I didnt major in it is because people kept throwing the there- are- too- many- History- teachers- out- there- and- you-will-never-find-a-job-no-matter-how-hard-you-look-and-how-far-you-go line at me.So what was I to do but decide to major in what everyone thinks is always in demand: Science.

I used to do a "This day in History" segment here at Symphonic Discord too, but eventually I ceased to continue because they were labeled as being "super lame" or something. Whatever.

Anyways, there's something about how events that happened in the past altering the future that really fascinates me. And how because of one specific event a whole new set of events took place. Perfect example: Archduke Franz Ferdinand's assassination and World War I. I always like to ask and wonder to myself, well if that didnt happen, would it be like this today.

When I took my first political science class at University, my teacher made us buy this book called A People's History of the United States by Howard Zinn and I fell in love with that book.It's not a textbook but not a novel. It's just a really well written book.

To sum up, it was history told from the viewpoint of the victims or the people who never really got to tell their side of the story. It's a history book told by women during the suffrage, history told by slaves during slavery, history told by the true Native Americans, history telling us what Columbus was really about when he came to the New World, and history told by the individuals that lost their loved ones during the September 11 attacks.

Basically, the history that we so rarely hear and learn about.

Some people might say that the book is completely biased but Zinn himself defends and affirms his biased views by saying:

This makes it a biased account, one that leans in a certain direction. I am not troubled by that, because the mountain of history books under which we all stand leans so heavily in the other direction — so tremblingly respectful of states and statesmen and so disrespectful, by inattention, to people's movements — that we need some counterforce to avoid being crushed into submission.

As a teacher, I'm always torn between teaching what is in a textbook as opposed to what I believe to be true.

Some people believe when it comes to History, there is a fine line between fact and opinion.

So, where exactly, as educators, do we draw the line?


MarjnHomer said...

this was totally out of your element for posts and I enjoyed it. With that said, just make sure when you teach history you teach the truth. Because to this day I hated the fact that when I thought Columbus discovered America was totally false.

f.B said...

I've never been an educator. But from a former student's point of view, I always respected someone responsibly expressing what he or she thought was the truth.

Melanie's Randomness said...

Oh Oh I love this post. I'm a history fan too!!!! There is a book that really changed my life where I was like Woa I would love to learn the real history (I'm so gunna look up that book u mentioned here too btw) of things called, "What teachers didn't tell you in high school history class." I would love to be history teacher too. I enjoyed reading this post. =)

Muslim Girl said...

I think all history is biased. No matter what you do, whenever you read history it is biased because you are reading it from a person's point of view (even if it is the author) and they will obviously write it how they understood it!

So if you read it from the slaves' point of view, it is biased, and if you read it from the slave owner's point of view, it's biased too!

But that's the beauty of history :)

Artistic Logic said...

i rarely c this side of u n i liked it

ModestJustice said...

Love that book!
I had to read some portions of it in preparation for my Ap U.S History class and I want to go purchase it.

I love history and this post totally makes my day. I always wonder how it'd be like to live in a completely different era.

Now I don't know what to take in college. I'm leaning towards history or english, but then people are telling me to be 'practical'.
What's practical about being forced into a major you don't want?

Mrs. Cullen said...

I love Zinn! I had no idea you read that book. Its one of my faves. Zinn is one of my fave authors. Anyway. When I was in high school I always thought I'd grow up to be a History teacher for high school students. SIGH. That never happened. Anyway, its funny how you were told not to do History and instead do Science because its more in demand. Yet your teaching of science for elementary students is going...SO WELL. cutie. I LOVE YOU

*mary* said...

I am a History major, but I do not know yet what I shall do with the degree.

Faith said...

I completely agree with Muslim Girl, all biased!
we have a saying in Arabic “history is written by those who won”
still I want to read that book you mentioned sounds very interesting

Cecilia said...

I love history too :)

erin said...

I used to have a t-shirt that said 'Hot Chicks Love History'.

I lost it in the ocean...not kidding either.

Anonymous said...

I love that book too! I think you should encourage your students to always seek out the truth and never to believe everything they read.

Margie said...

I've also read that book by Howard Zinn ...a wonderful book!

So enjoyed this post!
Thank you!


Little T said...

I would personally really enjoy a "This day in history" post!

Tricia said...

I love history and i think once in awhile u should such posts. I normally buy the newspaper to read the 'today in history' section. Love it. :) history is great,it has the answers to alot of things that are happening now.

foxy said...

I'm not much of a history buff, per se, but i do find it interesting.

drollgirl said...

ok, i need to get that book.

no offense, but i HATED history in school. absolutely detested it. i found it boring, and i hated trying to memorize dates. and now i regret that i didn't put more time and effort into it. i am so clueless about so many important events -- it is downright embarrassing!

linlah said...

When I told my history teahcer in HS that I wanted to be a history teacher she said "don't it's boring" Now that makes me laugh and I still like history.

Smileyfreak said...

I love that cartoon!! And I think you just gotta find a happy medium that your comfortable with :)Hope that helps

David Kames said...

As a teacher, I'm always torn between teaching what is in a textbook as opposed to what I believe to be true.
I think the best answer to that is to teach students to examine and evaluate sources for themselves and then to debate interpretations.

I also think when you're teaching history, especially at a high-school level, you shouldn't really be using only a single text-book - you should use two books with contrasting interpretations and "teach the debate."

And I know this probably isn't possible with the school curriculum, but it should be - and when I'm in charge, and establish my Reich, everyone will be forced to be freethinking and critical, on pain of death! ;-)

Kate said...

It is fun that we are so alike! I only have a para for 45 minutes each day because I have 27 kids in my class!
I love the Zinn book and am also a history lover. I have my middle school license in social studies and was offered a position. I don't think you can teach history but you can teach geography and other things like that.
My opinion about being a teacher is the most important thing we can teach our students is to know where to find information and to have their own opinion.

LiLu said...

That's tough... I guess I'd teach the book, and then be all "but SOME people speculate THIS actually happened"... I dunno!

.:*aMbAr*:. said...

Wow, this is a really interesting post. I'm too opinionated to even be a teacher.. LOL

But I would definitely have some trouble with fact/opinion too.

PS: Looove the new look of the blog.