About This Blog

My name is Jim Smith, and I am a former history and humanities teacher. I now work as an education consultant, leading workshops and institutes for history teachers. This website is my platform to write about what I have learned as a teacher and consultant. It’s also a platform for writing about what I am still learning.

I love my work as a consultant, although I often miss teaching. I miss my students. They nourished my spirit in a way that can never be replaced. 

I also miss my subject. I am a history “nerd” and often yearn to talk with someone about the Haitian slave revolt of the 1790s, the Know Nothing movement of the 1850s, or the political philosophy of Jean Jacques Rousseau. I know that if I tried talking about these subjects with my friends, I soon wouldn’t have any friends. (Imagine that!) This blog was therefore created, in part, as an opportunity for me to write about the subjects I can no longer talk about since leaving the classroom as a history teacher.

I became a history teacher, in part, because I wanted to explore many different topics. I didn’t want to limit myself to one subject like astronomy, anthropology, music, or political science, all of which were on my list of possible career choices when I was young. I studied history because I wanted to learn as many subjects as possible, and I knew that historians have a variety of professions within them. Historians are part scientist, musician, politician, sociologist, philosopher, military strategist, and economist.

In my workshops with teachers I often model a lesson designed to help students categorize historical information according to the acronym PERSIA. Students ask themselves whether information in the textbook can be categorized as political, economic, religious, social, intellectual, or artistic. History obviously provides more topics than those six, but the acronym PERSIA gives students a good start in understanding that the study of history involves an examination of several different topics.

This blog may look a little like a PERSIA assignment. It will include postings about historical content that can be categorized under several different topics. It will also explore issues dealing with the art of teaching. Visitors to this site might one day find something about Billy the Kid and the Lincoln County War. The next day, they might find something about Renaissance art or how to help students learn to think analytically. Above all, the followers of this blog will read a lot about music history, an overwhelming passion of mine.

If any of that sounds like fun, I recommend teaching history. I also recommend following this blog. It will be as eclectic as the interests of a history teacher.

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