By Louie Goldsmith
Elizabeth Buhl is a new history teacher this year who is teaching for her first time.
Have you ever taught before?
It is actually my first time teaching. I graduated from Boston University with my Masters last year, and I student taught at Watertown High School.
What fun things do you do outside of school?
I like running, I like being outside, hiking. I like going to concerts in Boston.
You said this is your first time teaching, what made you want to get into teaching?
Actually both my parents are teachers, so is my older sister, and my grandma was a teacher. I really loved history in college and I loved having great discussions about it and I also really liked working with kids, and this is just a way to help students have the same experience I did and I think it can be really eye-opening.
Do you have a specific era of history that you are interested in?
I love the Civil War. There are just so many layers, so much to learn about during that time, and I think the nation changed and that it was a moment of great change and a great shift in values, which I think is important to study.
Is there anything you strive to do as a teacher, such as engage kids in a certain way or create a certain kind of environment?
I’d like to create an environment where I think students feel comfortable sharing their ideas and moments where they reach a realization. I think that the best classroom where that happens is one that uses a lot of multimedia, a lot of pictures, a lot of primary sources, voices of the past that students can relate to.
Do you prefer mostly group projects. mix of group and individual, or more individual work?
I really like doing group work in class, but I think at times it is helpful to do that individual work and let a student try something out on their own without the support of a group. It is important to practice, because when you get into certain situations you are not going to be in a group.
Are there certain things that you try to build upon the curriculum with?
It is hard because I’m teaching two survey classes which means it is all of U.S. history in a year. All of U.S. history would take more than a year to teach, so you have to choose representative stories that help students get the bigger idea and the bigger understanding. I like to look for stories that might have been covered up by history, whether it is a story from an oppressed group or something that went unnoticed or wasn’t written down fully. I think sometimes those are the moments where you get the skill of uncovering the story and putting the pieces together.
Louie Goldsmith can be contacted at [email protected]