History is my vocation and my avocation. When I first began studying history in college, my knowledge of how to investigate and write historically was minimal. I often approached history from a genealogical or familial basis. Through my undergraduate tenure, I learned how to construct an effective historical argument that positioned the significance of history within a contemporary framework. Thus, my teaching style aims to evoke in students the same enthusiasm of discovery and achievement that I felt when I realized the diversity and cultural overlap within American history.
Teaching is exhilarating. Teaching history, for me, hinges on a seamless balance between developing content and practical skills that guarantee history's relevance to current discourse and ensure full comprehension of course material. I believe in implementing a dynamic teaching style that incorporates class discussions based on the Socratic method. Moreover, the use of historical quotations and the rotation of four or five authors to expose students to a variety of historical and cultural ideas allow students to think critically about the relationship between historical issues and current events. These examples of my approach are evident in my lecturing style. I appreciate incorporating a dynamic use of sources including primary documents, historical objects, images, and even historical sounds.
Teaching United States history and public history are often thought to require different instruction methods. However, I present students with various examples of how to use material culture to examine historical events for a more nuanced depiction of the past. Ultimately, I want my students to make connections. For instance, I want students to develop and articulate a coherent historical narrative that is supported by a strong understanding of people, place, and space. To achieve this goal, the classroom in some instances must become the world we live in. I regularly have my students engross themselves in the public realm of history by visiting historic sites, cultural centers, and museums to situate their understanding of history in context with how the public views those same representations of the past. These interactions outside of the classroom also reinforce an understanding of the cause and effect of cultural and historical landscapes. As a student of public history, it is my job and my passion to bridge the gap between students appreciating and viewing changes in physical, cultural, and economic systems over time.
I teach sections of United States, African American, Digital, and Introduction to Public History courses. These courses allow me to incorporate scholarship that demonstrates how historical narratives change over time. For instance, I had students from my Introduction to Public History course visit a historical site and document their experience from two perspectives. First, students were required to write a paper from the viewpoint of individuals who lived at that site. They then wrote a second paper demonstrating how their visit reinforced their understanding of the site's historical significance. This excercise provided the students with a basis of public history that reinforced their ability to lead academic projects.
My passion for history fuels my love of seeing students comprehend history. This perfect marriage of researching and teaching history has allowed me to create an interactive classroom environment where thoughts, ideals, and arguments are transferred between the students and myself. Being in the classroom makes me a better historian. Researching and writing history makes me a better educator.
AFRICAN AMERICAN CITIZENSHIP
Covering the period of enslavement through the Black Freedom Struggle, this course hones in on key moments in American history that have shaped and crystallized African Americans quest for citizenship.
MUSEUM AND HISTORIC SITE INTERPRETATION
This course comprised the first of a three-semester sequence that introduced students to the practices and scholarship of public history and skills that will help them thrive in the profession.