I have not been physically in front of a class of students since March 11, 2020. Next week, thanks to the overwhelming amount of work and dedication of the people behind Logic Creative Labs I get to teach, in person, again. I'm nervous and excited all at once. Some of my students are new to me, and some are returning to me after a year of remote learning.
I'm thinking a lot about balancing the need to dive into the stories of history and geography, and also realizing that we are all trying to re-enter a changed world, after 18 months in very unusual circumstances. So my thoughts turn to what I consider the most important aspects of what we will be exploring. Studying history and geography are truly all about finding the connections (I know... I always say that!). This sort of learning is about asking all the questions and realizing that we may not be able to find all the answers. It is about looking beyond what we expect to find, and being open to new ideas. On Tuesday, human geography students will be faced with questions about maps. Are maps reality? Or are they fiction? How do you know?
I came across an article in The Washington Post this morning that really drives home the need to look beyond what we are always told. The Amazon warriors of Dahomey are mythic in their power, but what we know about them is through the eyes of (mostly) white, European, men. A group of Beninese researchers is working to change that. This is history that is part of the big picture that I often talk about in class. As teachers, and as learners, being aware of the part of the stories that are not often told is critical not only to understanding history, but also to understanding our place in the story.
The stories may be the best part of teaching. No, it's the students. Or maybe it's the students and the stories. I don't know. But I'm nervous and excited to be part of it, both in person and online, next week.