Pierre Sirois, BHP Teacher
I’ve been teaching Big History for four years, and for the last few, just as summer is winding down, I spend a couple of days reviewing Teaching Big History, the BHP online professional development course. I recommend every teacher do this at the start of the year. Teaching Big History provides you the ability to think about the course you’re about to teach as a whole, and allows you to refocus on its key ideas. The PD sessions remind you of the importance of the course’s key themes, and of the skills the students will be acquiring over the year. You’ll have a chance to revisit the parts of BHP you may have avoided because you weren’t comfortable with the content, and, therefore, haven’t emphasized as much as perhaps you should have. Teaching Big History gives you the courage to try doing something in a new way. This year, after watching Jillian Turner’s explanation of the Little Big History project again, I feel motivated to expand this process, and as a result, I’ve decided to create East Grand Rapids High School’s first Little Big History Night.
Finally, the PD sessions help get you excited about introducing BHP ideas to another group of students, which for the most part, is one of the main reasons we teachers do the job we do. Although it might sound like just one more thing to add to your start-of-the-school-year to-do list, I think you’ll find retaking Teaching Big History is a great use of your precious time.
About the author: Pierre teaches at Michigan’s East Grand Rapids High School. He has been using the Big History Project resources since 2013, and fully integrated BHP’s lessons into his world history classes in 2017. He teaches five sections of the year-long course, reaching 150 students, and is very thankful for BHP Score, BHP’s free, online essay scoring tool. This year, he’s looking forward to using the new and improved BHP Score, which enables students to write more and get feedback sooner.