asks a great question at his blog, The Pietist Schoolman. It is certainly fitting for National Teacher Day. Gehrz answers this question with an unqualified YES and cites some pretty good historians (Paul Kennedy, John Lewis Gaddis) in the process. But in the end, he focuses most of his attention on Maureen Conway, his 12th-grade U.S. History teacher. Here is a taste:
I first met Maureen Conway
not long after I turned eight years old. In the middle of a school
year, I had just changed schools and grades (from 2nd grade in my local
public school to 3rd grade in a new K-12 private school),
and things were not going all that well. Among other challenges, I had
to take a foreign language for the first time, and my classmates were
months ahead of me in knowledge of French. But Mme. Conway not only
worked with me outside of class to develop my vocabulary and grammar,
but she recorded cassette tapes for me to use at home. (When I finished
my PhD, she sent me one of the cassette tapes as a gift.)
teaching French was just a sidelight: in 7th grade Mme. Conway, French
savior, suddenly became Ms. Conway, American history super-teacher! I
had her again in 12th grade U.S. history, but it was the earlier middle
school encounter that fixed in my head the image of what a teaching
historian should be like: passionate, and compassionate; tender-hearted
towards those on the margins of society; committed to learning from the
past to improve the present; fearlessly innovative in the classroom; and
absolutely dedicated to seeing her students become the best versions of
themselves. In her school profile, this is how she describes her
philosophy in the classroom: "If I love it, they'll love it; of they love it, they'll learn it; if they learn it, they'll use it; if they use it, they can change the world."
Who were the teachers who inspired your love of history? Lets celebrate them by listing their names in the comments section below.
I will begin: Alan Lucibello, Robert Wenger, John Woodbridge.