Why Teens NEED Better History Lessons

I graduated from college in 2008.  It was an accomplishment that took a while thanks to kids, Army wife life and pretty much any other obstacle you can imagine.  However, it wasn’t enough and so I’m doing it again! This time it is a post graduate program that will enable me to teach. That’s right, I’m going to use the history degree to teach high school kids.

I love history! I think it is extremely important that kids come away from high school knowing  the REAL events of how our country has evolved over the last two centuries. I also believe they aren’t being taught enough to carry on a competent conversation about the way our country works.  I hope that I can help them learn the basics and maybe they’ll stop jumping on just any bandwagon and think things through.

  1. It’s not about what gets published in People, Star or other entertainment magazines.  Sure, it’s fun to read these mags and peek into the parts of celebrity lives they want us to see.  However, this isn’t important in the big scheme of things.
  2. YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and the rest of social networking is a curse and a blessing.  These are tools that politicians, celebrities and even normal people can use to get the word out and incite social change.  However, it isn’t a way to get rich quick and young people need to stop believing that one viral video or tweet is going to give them their dream career.  Media is vital in our world today, partially because it changed the way our country views war and other social issues.
  3. We need to teach them about the last 50 to 70 years in our country.  Girls need to know that it wasn’t until the 1970’s that they were able to have credit in their own name. 9/11 wasn’t the first time someone blew up the World Trade Center.  High gas prices are nothing new. Public demonstrations and rallies are what changed the course of our country from civil rights to war.
  4. Kids need to learn the basics of our Declaration of Independence and Constitution. I believe they need to know why our forefathers wanted freedom of religion and why they had to include the right to bear arms.  They need to know why issues like cruel and unusual punishment were part of the original United States Constitution.
  5. If a student graduates from high school they need to know how to write a paper. This includes proper grammar and punctuation. They need to know how to find valid information. Wikipedia is NOT a credible source. While it is a good place to find basic information, it isn’t valid. They need to learn what makes a source valid, how to check out the motives behind groups that publish certain information and that just because it was published doesn’t make it true. It’s basic knowledge and kids these days believe anything just because it is on the internet.

I could go on, but I won’t bore you with more gripes about how our current school system is failing our kids when it comes to history and social studies.  My hope is that I’ll finish up this teaching program quickly and find a position where I can help kids learn more.

These are lofty goals for a mom who still has three loads of laundry to fold, two bathrooms to clean and still hasn’t figured out how to keep the dog from eating cat poop.

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