Teaching Meme

The meme I designed highlights a key transition point for me during my time as a student learning history. Up until 9th grade, I never cared much for history; I saw it mostly as basic memorization of facts from dry textbooks as opposed to a meaningful educational experience. However, my 9th grade teacher showed me history was much more than what I had thought, as she started using primary source documents as opposed to traditional textbooks. This made history become much more alive to me, as instead of reading someone’s analysis of the historical event, I was learning about the event from people actually involved from the time period. I thought of how myself or my friends could one day be important to historians; maybe they would stumble upon our homework or cell phones to analyze the era that we lived in. History instantly became much more relatable and therefore more important to me, which is something I keep in mind when I think of how I will design history lessons in the future for my students.

My teacher from 9th grade not only made history more relatable to me, but also more meaningful and relevant. I always wondered before my 9th grade why it was important to know about the past. Why did it matter what happened to people who lived hundreds of years ago? With the way I was taught history in the past, that seemed to be the only thing that the tests I took cared about. However, this teacher taught me history was much more than just memorization. She taught us it was like a treasure hunt. You could ask any question you wanted, and there were sources out there, just like the ones we read in class, that would help you answer that question. It almost made me feel a bit like a detective searching for the truth. However, the truth was never entirely clear, and everything I asked had some grey in the answer. But that’s when I recognized the types of skills I’d be using when doing history: analysis of bias (my own and others), evaluation of the importance of the sources I found (how much they helped or didn’t help me answer my question), organization of all the data I found, and formulating a clear presentation on my findings to the class. All these skills are extremely valuable/necessary to almost any type of work I could imagine, and ever since then, the importance of history has only became more apparent to me.

Teach to the Times

One of my goals as an educator is to keep my teaching relevant and accessible. I chose this photograph because the climate crisis is incredibly relevant, and like my classmates have mentioned, teaching history does not have to be “stuck on the past.” Studying history can help us understand our own experiences, just as studying past crises can lend insight to the crises we collectively experience today. 

Keeping our teaching relevant also helps us examine the “lenses” through which we study the past. The climate crisis will impact how we teach the events leading up to it, including industrialization, international politics, natural disasters, and environmental policy. My goal is to help students see that “history” is a constantly evolving dialogue, influenced by the present as much as the past. 

Meme for Teaching History

Although I made this meme with History/Social Studies in mind, it could just as easily apply to any subject taught in school. Something I’ve learned through both experience teaching and experience as a student is that nothing causes me to try harder in a class than having an engaging instructor. Anyone, or at least almost anyone, can sit in a classroom for hours and complete the busy work necessary to pass. Not everyone can sit in a classroom for hours while absorbing and retaining information to apply again later, though. There are classes I have passed with an A that I could tell you nothing about, and there are classes I have passed or struggled to pass where I can remember almost all of the information. The big difference between my retention in these classes is the amount of engagement my teachers have been able to get from me. Engagement is hard to measure in a tangible way, but I’ve learned that you can simply feel engagement in a class when it is present. Much like in the image/meme, you may not be able to gauge a quantitative measure of engagement from students, but there is almost a qualitative feeling or vibe (apparently a word my students said was completely antiquated) you can sense from students that enjoy being with you in class.

My biggest dilemma in doing a write-up about this meme surrounding engagement in education is that I honestly, truly, have absolutely no clue what actually makes a teacher engaging. There are ideas I have, such as relating to the students, using humor, and treating them like intelligent people rather than children to be babysat. Many of the best teaching traits, as I’ve heard, are not learned in a classroom but are learned through years of experience in the field — I think student engagement is one of those traits. When I eventually become a teacher there are so many traits I need to refine, but finding a way to consistently engage my students and give them a desire to be in class will be the holy grail of my career to search for!

Why teach economics?

The phrase factors of protection plays on the factors of production, the resources available for the production of goods and services: labor, capital, land and entrepreneurship. The images associated with the factors of protection represent resources and aspects of our lives that allow us to succeed and thrive.

Economics education is a social justice issue. Access to an understanding of the global economy, our nation’s economic system, the circular flow of economic activity, personal budgeting and financial security, taxes, and the role of government in fiscal policy allows individuals to self advocate and successfully participate as a consumer, investor and citizen/ voter.