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Hunter Huss IB Readings

For once, I am going to ask you to be brutally and completely honest about your teacher, your class, and your blog assignments over the year. This year more than ever I have realized that sometimes, in the attempt to teach understanding of history, I might not be reaching you, my students, and literally YOU are the reason I dreamed of and worked for and finally became a teacher. But, we get stuck in ruts of not understanding the basics that I take for granted. I have failed most of you as a teacher in many ways. I LOVE history because it makes the world make sense to me – and the world is a very confusing place. But I know the limitations of what I have learned. Most days after school, I rush home to read, yes, more history. I can’t wait to get back to reading and trying to understand things. Just this school year I have read a great new biography of Washington, lots of books about Lincoln, another history of the Cold War, Robert Caro’s entire trilogy of LBJ (no longer a trilogy because he just published Book #4 which I will have to either wait until the library gets it or steal it on pirate bay to read it), and much much more history. I know I am a history geek but the more I learn the more I want to learn.

Your question of the week – you don’t have to read anything (which is good because a lot of people never read all of the assignments I gave them anyway). Answer the questions honestly (and if you slam me it won’t hurt you because it will only make me stronger in the long run)

What did your teacher do right, what did he do wrong? Did he spend WAY too much time going over things that your prior knowledge did not allow you to understand? Did he suck at teaching in general (Blue and Reyes, be gentle here because I will take what you say with a grain of salt). What could I have done to make history more important and more interesting. Would interactive notebooks have helped? I tried so hard to make history relevant to your lives but I was within the confines of the state mandated curriculum, but did anyone gain anything at all that meant anything? My 11th grade history teacher was the football coach and  I learned nothing – I only learned by reading and traveling on my own later. What can I do to make this class more relevant, more interesting, and more important. My juniors did the hardest curriculum I have ever taught and maybe the hardest history curriculum in the US – 4 novels, a textbook, primary source documents, and a non-fiction book “Blood Done Sign My Name.” And, the seniors got their butts kicked by 4 non-fiction books, several shared documents, and lots of essays. I know how I prepared you for college because I talk to people all of the time I taught that graduated as early as 2005, but I also feel I failed all you of in numerous ways this year by not making history more relevant and not being “tough enough” to get you ready for the real world. Most 17 and 18 year olds might not be ready for rigor like I have tried to do, so should I just try to reach the few who are ready or ease up? I know that there are a few students I reach but my purpose should be to reach everyone.

Blast me because all you can say makes me better next year. This year’s junior class was worked harder than any junior class I ever had and so were the seniors (who didn’t respond as well). Should I have just passed people (like I had to do sometimes in the past) or should I have tried to be as rigorous as I was? I am old but I went to college old so I know what college is like (and I definitely know what the real world is like since I did that for 20 years before going back to college). On this last blog post, tell me what I did wrong, what I did right, what I can do for the current 10th graders next year, where I lost you, where I found you (if I ever did make anything matter), and how we move ahead. IB is hard – only a handful of teachers at Huss understand how to do it – but the real world is much much harder – what can I do to help and where did I fail (again, Blue and Reyes, tread lightly here because while I have thick skin your trolls may piss me off).

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