This week’s adventure in teaching and learning history at Mansfield University included more documentaries, lectures, and visits to each of the student teachers. In the American Revolution class, we’ve moved into the 1760s and have explored the impact of George Grenville on British imperial policy during the mid-1760s, as the British government tried to figure out how to make the colonies contribute more to the imperial coffers while finding out that the colonists weren’t as receptive to the policy changes as they hoped (even when Grenville proposed an 18th century version of “job creation” by promising that colonists would serve as collectors of the stamp tax to soften the blow). In United States History since 1877, the focus shifted from industrial leaders to the response of labor, particularly the use of job actions to try to effect change (and focusing on the rhetoric of “eight hours for work, eight hours for rest, and eight hours for what we will” to explain why workers wanted shorter hours and improved working conditions, with special attention paid to the Homestead Strike. In History of Pennsylvania, William Penn got the charter for his province (with the condition that it be named after his father, Admiral Sir William Penn) and worked to establish a representative government, drafting four distinctive Frames of Government (constitutions) in a twenty-year period to ensure that the settlers would have a voice in governing his province.
The main activity, however, occurred outside the classroom. This semester, I am supervising four student teachers: three in Social Studies, one in Spanish. As the only person at my campus who holds certification in Spanish (Provisional Secondary Teaching Certificate, History and Spanish, State of Texas), I get to supervise Spanish student teachers in addition to sharing the responsibility for social studies student teachers with one of my colleagues. The three Social Studies student teachers are working with cooperating teachers who I have worked with previously for their first placements, so the orientation visits were primarily catching up, reviewing the forms, and scheduling the first observations. For the Spanish student teacher, it was a bit different, as I hadn’t been in a Spanish classroom in over twenty years. In addition, the ACTFL standards are quite different from those for Social Studies (which are almost second nature to me by now), so it literally is like learning another language to figure out the expectations for a different accrediting agency. As it turns out, the first observation will be of the Spanish student teacher, so in slightly more than one week I will be in a 9th grade classroom and watching a future teacher interact with her students, helping them learn another language and opening their world to another culture (while at the same time hoping I remember enough to follow along; I do have reading fluency in Spanish but my conversational skills are quite rusty).
This coming week will bring a different sort of excitement. The U.S. history survey class will have its first group discussion presentations on Monday, and there will be a group book presentation in History of Pennsylvania on Thursday. In History of Pennsylvania, the focus will be on ethnic diversity in the colony by exploring European settlement and Native Americans. The action in the American Revolution class shifts a bit toward Boston this week. So far, the filming is going well, except that I need to figure out a better place for the podium, which occasionally blocks students’ view of the PowerPoint presentation on the screen. As a result, starting on Monday, I’ll try moving the table and podium across the room; after all, it’s not like I’m tethered to the side of the room with the computer (the remote mouse takes care of advancing slides, and I pace enough that it wouldn’t be unusual for me to walk over to the computer). And on Wednesday, I definitely will have to be close to the comuter, because the remote doesn’t access the links that I will be using when talking about immigration.
The photo this week was taken in August 2010 at Boott Cotton Mills Museum at Lowell National Historical Park and makes reference to the history of labor/management relations: