What Public Historians Can Learn from Fourth-Graders

By: Nick Sacco, Park Guide, Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site

This article was originally published on the Broadside Blog of the American Association of State and Local History.

As a former classroom teacher and a current front-line interpreter with the National Park Service, I’ve had the privilege of interacting with and educating literally tens of thousands of k-12 students. I didn’t anticipate this turn of events when I first dreamed of being an educator. Early in my training I decided that I wanted to work with high school students and thought that teaching younger students would be nothing but a major headache. As I transitioned into the public history field, however, I learned that my past prejudices would have to be thrown out the door. I felt nervous and useless when 120 fourth graders stared at me as I began a tour of the Indiana State House for the first time four years ago. CONTINUE READING