By Morissa Robinson
As a History major I am often asked, “What are you planning to do with that, teach?” The question is usually followed by a self satisfied smirk and the occasional rolling of the eyes. I have to admit the first few times this happened, my feelings were hurt. I would mutter a quick “I’m not sure yet” and rush away with my head down. The question got old real quick. How dare these people make me feel ashamed of my decision? Why should I have to justify myself to them? It took me a little while to realize that I didn’t have to. The truth of the matter is YES, I want to teach. But I wanted to do that before I had even decided on History.
From the day I began kindergarten, I have always loved learning. I frequently tell my husband that if there was a way I could make money by being a professional student, I would sign up, no questions asked. Unfortunately, there isn’t or if there is, I haven’t found it yet. Teaching, I concluded, is the next best thing. Initially the goal was to teach English. My love of language and literature made English a natural choice. It also didn’t hurt that I really enjoy writing, both fiction and nonfiction. It was during my first semester at Horry Georgetown Tech that I began to think that maybe English wasn’t my only option. I had a history professor whose passion for the subject was second only to his excitement for it, and it was contagious. There wasn’t a single student who wasn’t hanging on to his every word when he lectured. I remember thinking ‘here’s a guy who genuinely loves what he’s doing.’
While most people tend to view history to be a tedious subject, I myself have always found it to be fascinating. Was it possible that I could do as my professor had done and get other people excited about it? Would I be able to inspire others to want to learn more? I decided that I wanted to teach history, but I want to do so much more than teach it. I want to make it fun, I want to bring it to life for students. I want them to see that it is so much more than learning events and dates.
History isn’t just another lesson, it is an experience. It’s seeing the dinosaur bones at the museum. It’s taking a ghost tour though the historic section of town. It’s about recording the stories of our grandparents to pass down to our grandchildren. It isn’t just about what happened when. It’s about why it happened, how could it have been different, what is the impact it still has today. It’s about shaping minds to see things differently, from someone else’s perspective. It’s taking what you know, adding what you learn, figuring out the hows and the whys and sharing that information with others. It’s about teaching students to use the past to navigate the issues we face today, to learn from past errors. Now when people ask ‘What do you plan to do with that, teach?’ I don’t hesitate. My reply? ‘Yes, my plan is to teach, but more than that, I plan to help shape the minds that will change our future by learning from the past.’