Big History Teacher, 9th Grade
As I wrap up my third year teaching Big History, I must admit that teaching this course has been one of the most rewarding experiences. In my first year I, like so many of you, can remember feeling extremely nervous and a bit overwhelmed at the prospect of teaching 13.8 billion years of history. And while some of my graduate coursework was in the history of science, that doesn’t mean I was prepared to teach something related to astrophysics or cosmology. However, I have learned so much from not only the course, but also from my students. This has shown me the impact that Big History can make on both teachers’ and students’ lives.
I can’t say that it’s been all rainbows and unicorns because there have been some hiccups along the way. These have mainly come from religiously conservative parents, who think that Big History is something they don’t necessarily want their children to learn. These fears come from both a religious perspective and also from the fact that they believe traditional history will be thrown out of the window. In saying that, however, there have been so many parents who have stopped me either at school functions or out in the community to tell me how much their daughters loved learning Big History. And so many of those who were vocal opponents in the beginning have become champions of the course! Former students have returned to let me know just how impactful the Big History course has been for them. This includes how the teaching strategies employed in the course have helped them to succeed in future classes. Additionally, I have seen a tremendous improvement in students’ critical thinking and writing skills, both of which will aid them as they journey through the rest of their academic endeavors.
As you all embark on your summer holidays of planning and revising, please know that all of your hard work will be greatly rewarded. I have never seen students become so excited about the subject matter as they have in this course. While many of my students often tell me how the course “hurts their brains” and at times frightens them (the threat of potential zombie apocalypses and the end of the human race in Unit 10 really gets to them), the course has been such a positive and eye-opening influence on my students as well as those around the world.
Start your journey as a BH teacher, visit the Big History Project website to register for a free teacher account and access to our curriculum.