Consider your origins: you were not made to live as brutes, but to follow virtue and knowledge.
I started studying Dante during high school and discovered that the Divine Comedy, written seven hundred years ago, was extremely relevant to me, my desires, passions, and experience. This realization made me aware that knowledge is a primary need of every person and not something that belongs to the “experts.” For this reason, I seek to communicate to my students that historical knowledge is a fundamental need for humanity.
My primary goal is to teach my students the real significance and value that studying History holds. Why it matters. My purpose is to show how this subject can allow them to understand the origins of contemporary phenomena and consequently gain a greater and more sophisticated comprehension of our world and of themselves. At the same time, I am committed to showing my students how history, while providing a sense of identity, enables us to understand the human experience and its motivations. Finally, studying history is crucial in developing tolerance and an open mind-ness.
My teaching experience in both university and high school taught me to be sensitive to cultural differences. I learned that each student has his unique needs and characteristics. This initial discovery came with both challenges and opportunities. I realized that to acknowledge and celebrate their uniqueness, I needed to respond to each individual student by choosing different teaching approaches. For example, I learned to avoid the false assumption that lack of eye contact and nonparticipation meant lack of attention, disinterest, or boredom. At the same time, I quickly discerned that a lack of questions doesn’t necessarily mean that my presentation has been well understood. I learned to solicit their input once trust was established with the student. Ultimately, recognizing their diversity made me more willing to explore their world and, consequently, develop open-mindedness and a great appreciation for it. These eye-opening experiences and learning more about student individuality and how to confront it was remarkable in the understanding of my own humanity and is one of the many reasons why I decided to become a teacher. Furthermore, my own diversity, as an Italian immigrant in the US, and my initial difficulties with the language, helped me understand the challenges that certain students face when they are learning both English and History. These assignments help them feel valued and appreciated. I design problem-based assignments to promote critical thinking and active engagement with the class subjects. These specific projects are also intended to encourage students to follow their interests, curiosity and celebrate their culture and background.
Finally, history is often reduced to data, results, and publications, however, I am convinced that to have knowledge of important political, social, and economic events in the present, we should understand where events come from and how they originated in the past. In my classes, I try to identify moments or events in history that led to an important transformation in every aspect of life and consequently shaped our minds. My class format is extremely diversified; students usually learn from a combination of lectures, readings of textbooks, scholarly articles, and books. At the same time, we analyze different kinds of primary sources very in-depth, such as artifacts, visual, and written, material.