Suzi Spencer

What sort of History teacher do I want to be and why?

The main focus of my desire to become a teacher is my love for history as a subject area. From a very young age I have been fascinated by why the world is the way it is and constantly requested information about people, events and systems of long ago, looking back this was possibly quite irritating. However, once I have recovered from the shock of being responsible for a classroom of young people, I am hoping to be an enthusiastic teacher, in order to pass on my enjoyment of history and encourage a questioning, curious attitude in the children that they can continue beyond the classroom. Hopefully this will also expand their understanding of the world around them today.

In my teaching I would like to be able to focus on historical debates, rather than simply presenting historical ‘facts’, although obviously the children need to be aware of key information for the national curriculum and their GCSE exams. By using physical primary and secondary sources where possible, I would like to introduce the children to the idea that history is not as rigid as they may think. Once the children realise that almost everything is open to interpretation and that all sources are biased, they could become more actively engaged in the process of discovering their own opinion. As part of this I would like to be able to present historical information and debate in an interactive and visually simulating way, although I’m very aware that I’m going to need a crash course in computers to be able to deliver this effectively.

On a more general level I would love to be the history teacher that children remember as the one who began their own enthusiasm for the subject. I would like my lessons to be stimulating and interesting, not dry and dull, to rekindle in teenagers an enquiring mind for learning that many adults appear to lose, not just so that they know more ‘stuff’, but as a way of interacting positively with life’s experiences. I don’t underestimate the teaching challenge this presents, but I am looking forward to it.