The most rewarding part of my job is connecting with students. Where else can you host a video game club and then teach world history to those same students you just beat in StarCraft or Rocket League? I love that Tennessee Connections Academy allows for these connections with students. They aren’t just “Hey, how are you?” to a sea of people during a class change in a brick-and-mortar school. Here it’s the start of something deeper, where teachers can invest in developing and empowering the future leaders of Tennessee.
I engage students the only way I can: by telling stories and connecting the students to the material. The word “history” is defined by the Greek “historia,” “a learning of knowing by inquiry.” While this is true and what most associate with learning history, I appreciate the Latin historia definition, which means a “narrative of past events, account, tale, story.” The Greeks and Romans both understood that history is inquiry and story. What better way to learn about history than through connecting these two? Once the students can connect history to their own life experiences, I want them to share with one another what they think and have learned and why it matters to them.
We use #dadjokeday as another way to show how to make connections between two disparate things. Students take turns sharing dad jokes with the class. I make it my mission to connect the bad pun with something we ‘re covering in class that day.