I am many things but undoubtedly the most surprising is history dork. Today I had the opportunity to go to Social Studies Facilitation Training to assist with the scoring of state history tests. Upon my arrival, I was greeted by a colleague. She rolled her eyes and shook her head gently and said, “Can you believe some people actually like being here?” I snarkily thought,“Could she believe she was singing my tune?” but weakly submitted (not letting on that I was that very people). Finally, my tribe, my people. History. Conflict. Struggle. Victory, defeat. And all back again and over and over. Repeating itself, but not entirely. Changes, some minute, but others far reaching and emboldened.
If anyone has read even one of my blogs, surely you could read between the lines and determine that I am a history geek. I love the struggle. Most of all I love the suggestion of fighting adversity and winning. Big, glorious, celebrated wins and minor progressions along the way through history appeal to me. Honestly! How do we do it? How do we get up each morning and face the oil spills, the oil wars, the fight for oil? How do we face our children during the economic crises, the common bouts of genocide, the religious hostilities? How do we survive the natural disasters enhanced by the deteriorating geographical characteristics? I love the gumption of mankind or, a-hem, humankind. The very hope and ingenuity. How did we go from Stone Age to this? How far have we come? How much further can we journey, explore, design and implement?
I’m not sure if submitting to the colleague has a real bearing on my place in history. Would I make it, come out on top? I think so. A battle plan. At times we need to keep a low profile, infiltrate the front lines. Sometimes we need to stay the course and tow the line, store our resources for the real fights ahead. Count our losses and regroup. Maybe my place in history won’t be on top. Maybe my place is to keep things moving. Feed and clothe the troops. Sustain. Maybe my own gumption will be the inspiration for another.
But really, who wouldn’t want to be at the facilitation training? Learning about history. Taking part in history, really. We may stop administering this particular test. We may have learned all that we could from exposing young children to dated and difficult manuscripts from the past. Maybe we will provide more difficult manuscripts as a way to filter future oil tycoons or discover the geographical importance of the Gulf wetlands to stabilize a famous port city. So famous in fact that Napoleon Bonaparte was invited to hole up there for a bit during his exile, but never made it. How’s that for history buffiness?
Today I learned more about the Slave Narratives they were inaccurate and minimized accounts of slave history. The information was garnered in a way that did not illicit honest accounts of life as a slave. They were shocking nonetheless and evoked change. More shocking- we include these as primary documents and manscripts for our Document Based Questions. Most shocking- we don’t explain the important detail about how they were created to our students in this particular test and expose them to inaccurate and racially biased data. In essence, we create the cycle for history to repeat itself by not providing ethnically genuine records. Again, today I was taking part in history, but also given the knowledge to invoke change. Me. My fellow teacher's gave me that morsel of power today. Next week I will reveal this information to my students, they too will share this power. Can you imagine someone would not want to be around other professionals sharing knowledge, feeding this great monster called History?
Imagine the other amazing truth about me: Daughter of a Marine, proud and few, I am a peace-loving passivist. Opposed to war and against the use of violent means of all shapes and sizes. Semper Fi and visit forts. Learn about history and keep on keeping on. Be the Change- Better yet be the history changer. Above all else, embrace your geekiness- loudly or to yourself, and always pick your battles wisely.