Stephanie McAllister is a ninth grade world history teacher. In her life outside of school, McAllister keeps busy with her kids and garden. She loves to be outside, especially with her dog.
Why did you choose to become a history teacher?
I started as an English teacher, but I enjoy thinking about civilizations and cultures, which teaching history has helped me explore. I am particularly interested in the role of religion in society and that comes up a lot in history. I am also interested in geography and the interaction of geography with culture. To me, history helps us gain insight into the human experience.
What makes the ninth grade world history program unique?
There are multiple unique aspects of our program. First, it is thematically organized and driven by broad, relevant questions and themes of power, community, wealth and more. We aim to focus on themes that are relevant to our students and to the pre-modern world. Additionally, our ninth grade world history class has been designed as a project-based course, which allows students to be more involved in their learning. Each project is related to one of the themes that we explore throughout the course. Lastly, this is a non-leveled class. We try to meet students where they are, whether that means providing extra help or giving more challenging tasks. Our experience of the world is not leveled, we don’t operate in the world as “honors” or “standard” kinds of people. Thinking of human civilization through a non-leveled lens enhances the learning experience.
How do you suggest students bring themselves back to the present when they feel overwhelmed?
For me, going outside is like meditating. With remote learning, I think it is important to take a break from technology when we need it. One of the things I love to do is snuggle with my dog. Anything that can bring you back to yourself and to the moment is a great way to focus on the present.
Do you have any advice for ninth graders at Brookline High School?
My advice falls into two categories. The first is the experience of being in high school, which might be different this year due to remote learning. Get involved! Try new things! Freshman year is the perfect year to find out what you might be interested in pursuing in later years. There are so many options and opportunities, so make the most of what there is!
My second piece of advice for freshmen is to learn habits that will serve you well throughout the rest of your high school career. Those could be study habits, how you keep track of your homework or how you communicate with others. Take the time now to improve yourself as a student in whichever way you think you should, because in later years there may not be as much help provided.