My decision to return to the classroom being a fairly recent one, I never would’ve envisioned just a few months ago that I’d be writing a curriculum and pacing guide for a history course at Research Triangle High School, let alone that said curriculum would be for WORLD HISTORY.

Anyone who has ever met me can quickly figure out that I’m a pretty big history nerd.  But I’m a pretty big history nerd with very discriminating tastes.  This carried over into my teaching career.  By my count, of the 30 class periods I taught in five years at Robinson High School, 25 of those were U.S. History.  The other five were split between Civics & Economics (3 periods) and World History (2).

I’m a pretty big political wonk so I loved the “Civics” part of Civics & Economics, but my lack of math skills often shone through whenever I tried to teach economics, and I never thought I was terribly effective at that part.  But at the end of the day, that was a course I didn’t really mind having now and again.  World History, though?  There’s a course I never cared a thing about.  I didn’t mind the fact that it was ninth graders (something that a lot of world history teachers always complain about) and I didn’t mind that it was a ton of material in a limited time frame.  My biggest hangup was that I just never liked world history.  I never got into all the royal struggles, the constantly changing boundaries, etc., etc.  Every spring we were asked to submit our top four choices for the next year’s courses.  Every year, my list looked something like: 1) U.S. History; 2) Civics/Economics; 3) shotgunning a bottle of Zerex; 4) World History.

But despite my personal hangups on the subject, I am extremely excited about teaching World History at RTHS next year.  For one thing, I get to write the curriculum.  This is not to say that I’ll be like that Civil War buff you may have had for U.S. History that spent half the school year on the Civil War and the other half on the other 400 years.  I still have to stick fairly closely to the new North Carolina Essential Standards for World History (which are, at first glance, a huge improvement over the old Standard Course of Study).  But I get to put my own touch on it – I can make sure that we allow for engaging projects and focus on content that will not only prepare our students for other social studies classes, but also help them to be aware of important issues going on in the world around them.

Furthermore, I have a ringer.  Laura Huffman, my former student teaching supervisor and the current history department chair at Cannon School, has over the course of her twelve-year career in the classroom perfected the art of teaching world history (her feelings on American history are analogous to mine on world history – to each his own).  My graduation present from her was the most useful one I’ve received: a giant flash drive with every bit of material she’s ever used to teach world history and AP European History, including pacing guides and syllabi. Her asking price for such invaluable assistance?  A Chick-Fil-A lunch, delivered to her classroom.  Deal.

My journey into World History is probably not a permanent one; once we have a junior class I’m 99% sure I’ll move to the American History side of the house.  Be that as it may, I’m doing my sincere best to make sure that all of RTHS’s students have the best world history experience possible and lay a solid groundwork for our future world history teachers to follow.  Too many teachers I’ve known try to reinvent the wheel.  I’m trying to make sure that whoever follows in my footsteps in teaching this course won’t have to.  Furthermore, I am hopeful that this process of devising a curriculum will make me a better teacher of all subjects, not just this one.

And who knows, by the time I get through this process, maybe World History will eclipse Zerex on my list.