3.5 Months Done!

Sorry for the long time span between posts!  I spent that amount of time teaching American History, Economics, and American Government to 11th and 12th graders who have been expelled from their zone schools.  It was one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences I’ve ever had.

The students came from various parts of Orlando and were expelled for a great variety of reasons.  I’m going to take some of the things they’ve taught me and some of the things I <i>think</i> I taught them and use them as inspiration for the next few months.  I look forward to returning to the school in August and making the big move from Tallahassee to Orlando.  If anyone has any suggestions on moving, I would greatly appreciate them!

Success!

You are looking at a one of the newest Social Studies/History teachers in Orange County Public Schools!  I start on Tuesday teaching juniors and seniors economics, American government, and American history!  That means that I’ll be able to blog about some of my most successful lesson plans and activities and some that just plain did not go well.  I’m excited about this journey!

Absence

I apologize for my period of absence but my cumulative exam is now over.  I am just waiting upon the results!  Hopefully I’ll know within the week.  I’ll have to change the premise for my blog now from graduate student to “person seeking employment in high school or community college” lol.

Until then, I proudly post this picture of my accomplishment in reading for my exam.

Cumulative Exam books

Happy New Year… I guess…

Isn’t it bad luck to wake up sick on New Year’s Day?  I don’t mean like hangover sick, I mean like sore throat, feeling achey and like I want to commit violent acts of aggression on the next person who wishes me a Happy New Year.  Then, I did the next best thing to waking up on New Year’s Day sick- I paid my bills.  Yay first of the month!

But the good news is that super early on January 3rd I will be getting in the car and driving to New Orleans for the American Historical Association conference.  I’ve never been to NOLA even though I only live about 5 hours away so I’m fairly excited.  I’m just hoping this cold goes away in oh, 24 hours.  I’m throwing everything I’ve got at it.  So much for yoga or the gym today.  You shall not win this germs!  I will beat you!

Hope your New Year’s is everything you hoped it would be and that much more!  Do you have anything excited planned to kick off your new year right?

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I won’t touch this election with a 10 foot pole

So I’m not even close to being a political historian. I am a social historian at best, a cultural historian secondary with a few other opinions thrown in, but by no means do I exactly study politics. My interest in this current election goes just as far as the average voter, though I did look up the local candidates prior to voting via absentee ballot. However, my friends, who are mostly biologists or physics people (they just followed me home, I swear!), do not understand why I cannot answer specific questions about each and every piece of the election process, prior candidates and prior elections. Its frustrating and enlightening. Please allow me to demonstrate via SomeEcards.

With the advent of social media, such as blogs like this, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and a zillion other things I will never get a grasp of, more people are able to reach a broader audience for both relevant and completely irrelevant opinions and “facts” on the candidates. I’ve been watching the arguments on Facebook and the varying opinions that just amaze me. I have successfully kept out of the arguments even though many attempts have been made to pull me in. To what extent are these rants and raves and sometimes blatantly wrong “facts” swaying potential voters? I have no idea. My hope is that people are intelligent enough to do their own research. However, everyone is entitled to their opinion and now with the social media outlets:

On the other hand, enabling people to post to Facebook and Twitter and all these electronic outlets and interact with others could potentially be dragging in those who would not ever be involved in a political conversation or willing to vote. This engagement would hopefully be making them think more in depth about who they’re going to vote for or why they would vote for them. And then they share their thought process on Facebook/Twitter… repeatedly…

Now these presidential debates… I watch them to keep up with the news, but quite honestly, I’d rather do without them. At this point, they feed my theory that elections are becoming the new sitcom. What a better way to get the average person involved right?! Make it entertaining for them to watch, throw in a few jokes, polarize the candidates so much and make sure you have someone of each demographic (Mormon, anti-abortion, anti-women’s reproductive rights, African American, Rockstar mentality, wealthy, etc) so you don’t leave out anyone that you can piss off. As a result of some of this action, I have heard people say that they don’t really care who wins as long as its not (insert name here). So in effect, they’re voting against someone rather than for a candidate that they really feel strongly about.

Mudslinging and angry retorts have gone back and forth against each other in every election since the beginning of elections. (For a fun read about past candidate shenanigans, I recommend reading J. Cummins Anything for a Vote.) Yet you hear constantly about how this is the dirtiest election in the history of the United States (no it’s not) and about how the candidates are the most polarizing in our history (no they’re not) and how health care and immigration is going to pull this nation apart (see New Deal and early twentieth century immigration policies- so no they’re not). I love the discussions about how great this depression is and how its comparable to The Great Depression, which it may be. As a historian I can tell you that to say that definitively right at this moment is next to impossible. That is something that can only be discerned through study post-depression. Yes, right now its rough, but is it as bad as it was in the 1930s? Certainly our true unemployment rate is not 1/3 of the country. Let’s talk about this again in a few years. However, look back through history. Depressions are common place. Every 100 years or so, the nation goes through a major economic depression. Every ten to twenty years we have a minor depression. Its the natural ebb and flow of market economy. I don’t mean to downplay this by any means so please do not take my words to heart, but look at it from a broader concept that a narrow view of the immediate moment. I can say this to you for certain, based on our history it will get better but there will also be another depression in our future. Watch your personal spending and create a savings account if you can.

Another thing I find interesting is exactly how much power that people perceive the president has exactly. Don’t get me wrong, he certainly has a significant amount of power, but the power truly lies with the Senate and House of Representatives. “The amount of presidential influence on the legislative process is often exaggerated by extravagantly choreographed bill-signing ceremonies. Although the Congress is generally responsible for almost all of the hard work on the bills it passes, it is the President that is generally in the spotlight, claiming credit for the legislation he signs.” (ThisNation.com) It is equally important who you vote into the Senate and the House of Representatives as it is who you vote into Presidency. People may argue with me on this point, but you cannot deny the constitutional power they have over the law of the land. So what the candidates are promising and the fabulous things they are saying to us through these debates, political ads, and other media outlets may or may not happen and it may or may not be their fault.

The moral of my story is that yes, my friends, I do have many opinions on the election as a historian and no they are not “you should vote Obama” or “you should vote Romney” because there are so many other factors that go into running this nation. My recommendation to you for this election and all future elections is to look at the broader picture of the history of our nation and foreign relations at the moment. Make sure you have a general understanding of what is going on in the world and how we could impact that. The New York Times, Time magazine, and The Economist are an excellent place to start. If you can’t do that, then research the backgrounds of people who you are voting into office, not just for the presidency but for every single office. From Top Dog to Soil and Conservation Representative. There’s a reason why you’re voting for them and it truly is a privilege to vote.  There are many other things about this election in particular, such as the voter fraud issue (is it myth or truth?), and elections in general but I think those could be their own blog.  So maybe one day I will sit down and write those blogs.  Until then…

How ever you decide to vote, please vote responsibly.

For more information on elections:

League of Women Voters

President Obama’s Election website

Governor Romney’s website

You can also Google local elections. Go to www.google.com and search “(local county name here), (state) elections 2012” and information should come up. If you have any questions or would like more help finding information on local officials, please let me know and I’d be more than happy to help you.

And no I will not tell you how I voted.

Someecards

What are you doing for the humanities?

So its now 2012.  Ok, its been 2012, I’m just a little late on the bandwagon.  Welcome to my slice of internet to keep me on track and hopefully inspire you, make you laugh a little (or maybe a lot), and expand your mind a slight bit.  I am currently one year out from graduation with a Masters of Arts in Teaching (MAT) degree in American History from Florida State University.  I work full time at another department utilizing my undergraduate degrees in Child Development and Psychology- and I discovered that this is so not what I want to do with the rest of my life.  However, now I am stuck between two worlds- one that I came from and one that I’m attempting to transition into.  There is no happy medium.  They both want you full time and there’s only so much of yourself that you can give.

Thus, this year I asked myself, what can I do better to be a better graduate student and historian?  I’m going to be released into this world soon to find a job in a market that does not look favorable and I need the knowledge to show for it.  I had no answer for this.  Thus, it took me nearly two months to figure out something to do that could keep me on track in my head and help me do something that I love to do – help and teach others.  The plans that I have for this space include updates in the field that I’m made aware of through the University and other memberships, nerdy history facts that I get excited over, fun classroom ideas & activities, random bits of information and updates from the field, updates from the conferences that I attend, and photos and information from my travels that I do constantly to awesome places because “history is made everyday” (thanks History Channel lol).

Comment at will – positively, negatively, or randomly.  On the side I have the blogs and websites I follow as well as other little fun tidbits about me.  Feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn and Twitter as well!