Finally! History Through Literature

During my freshman year in college in Ann Arbor, I planned to be an English teacher.  It seemed a natural fit–English had always been my favorite class.  Then I took a few history courses, read the literature assigned to them and decided this was what I was meant to teach.  I switched my concentration and graduated with a BA in History and teaching certification in history and English.  My first job was in an amazing town with amazing colleagues right on Lake Michigan.  I couldn’t have asked for a better introduction to the career.  (Man, I miss those guys!)

I love teaching history to teenagers–and from that very first year, I knew I wanted to teach a course like one I had taken in high school:  History Through Literature.  I think literature is one of the best pathways to understanding history and I get giddy just thinking about the possibilities.

Well…to get to the point of my story, after 17 years of teaching, I just received the “greenlight” to finally teach my own History Through Literature course.   I am ridiculously excited.

I have already begun creating a template for the course.  Due to our budget constraints, I will actually be teaching the same set of kids in two periods–one will count for History credit and the other for English 11, which I can do with my dual certification.  Ideally, this would be a team-taught course, but that isn’t going to be possible.

I’ll take what I can get.

Is anyone out there teaching a course like this?  Are there any resources you have found especially helpful?

2nd Inaugural Post

Can you really have a 2nd inaugural?  I suppose the President will have a second inauguration, so I can have a 2nd inaugural blog post.

Along with thousands of others, I decided to write a blog.  I was hesitant about the whole blogging thing–is it self-serving? self-aggrandizing?  is it supposed to be?  should I be an expert at something to deserve a blog?

I do love to read others’ blogs, so while the answer may be yes to all of those questions, here I am.

The fact is, I am not an expert at anything, really.  What I wanted was a place to bounce ideas off others, to share things I’m trying, and to opine about things that matter to me, and hopefully to others as well.

I live in Montana.  Never in a thousand years (yes–I do love my hyperbole) did I ever imagine I would live anywhere other than West Michigan.  I wanted to live in West Michigan–I loved it there.  However, true love called and now I am living in a small town with Glacier National Park in my backyard.  I am a cat person, but I now am mother to a gigantic, crazy Newfoundland puppy.  I have two boys who often confound me with their humor and manner of play, as I grew up with all girls.  I have a vegetable garden.  I knit.  I’ve started cooking.  I hike.  I’ve shot a gun.   I am 2000 miles (give or take–not hyperbole) from all of my extended family members.  I attended the University of Michigan and live in an area where my chosen party loses nearly every election in our county.  The only thing that turned out somewhat as I’d planned was my career.  I am a high school social studies teacher (with a bit of English thrown in).  This is all amusing to me, because I am a planner.  I had it all mapped out, but as Burns once wrote “the best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ men gang aft agley”.

That said, I would change nothing (except maybe to shed these last 10 stubborn pounds).  I would live nowhere else.  Don’t get me wrong–I’d still like to retire someplace warm, like South Carolina, but some how, some way, this short West Michigan girl ended up exactly where she needs to be.

What about you?  Have any of your carefully laid life plans “gang aft agley”?

Columbia Mountain