Career Day at Alvin Junior High School!

Today I had the privilege of talking with eight groups of twenty 8th graders at Alvin Junior High School.

My day was a blast!

These students were curious and have a love of life far too many adults have lost. They were eager and fully innocent of all the things that stress far too many adults. They wanted to be marine biologists, surgeons, veterinarians, pilots, engineers, and many, many other things! 

I used my typical very interactive teaching style. I asked these students, “What do you want to be?,” “What do you think a history professor does?,” and “How do you think you become a professor?” They already knew parts of the answers to all of these! I showed them my MA thesis around this point. I also used this as an opportunity to talk about how I teach and to talk about the skills of strong students and to share all the other things a history professor does besides teaching. 

I passed around some old BlueBooks exams from former students for them to look at. I said this was a three hour test, how many questions do you think it had? They initially said “200” or “500” and other lively responses. When I told them the test had two questions, they were shocked, as I expected! But, then I used this to talk about how you always learn and grow and improve and that when you get to college it will be a piece of cake if you study.

In some of the sessions we had time to analyze a primary source. We looked at a photograph from the Great Depression. I passed copies of it around to the students and had them analyze it (based off various questions on my master list), and they did a great job – better than some college students! In particular, we talked about how various people would respond to the photograph.

In some of the sessions we talked about various definitions of “history” and how that anything and everything is history. When I asked them “how long ago does something have to be before it’s called history?,” I was delighted that in each group before I even said anything, they said “yesterday!” and “five minutes ago!”  

We talked about the advantage of starting at a community college, too, and how dual credit can provide important opportunities. 

They had so many wonderful questions, too. I wish I could remember all of them. At one point one of them asked what my favorite TV show was and thought it was “awesome” that I didn’t even have a TV!

I also had some really great conversations with other presenters at career day and faculty/staff members at AJHS. AND, a really neat and unexpected thing happened when I ran into Mrs. Setzer (our picture below), who was my social studies and science teacher in fifth grade at Polk Elementary in the 1998-1999 school year. 

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Categories: Thoughts and Perspectives

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2 replies

  1. BRAVO!! They made your day; you made mine. NOW YOU KNOW WHY JR> HIGH was my “first love.” You never forget or leave your “first love.” I opened Alvin Junior High in 1968. my fist year to teach in Alvin, my second year to teach (for pay!). 1968 was the first year the junior high was located off the high school-jr. college campus on Johnson Street. AJH was the first and only junior high school in Alvin until Grace Harby Jr. High (named after my friend, a wonderful woman who did much for the Latino community in Alvin) opened and became the second junior high in AISD. (I think there are about 7 now, including the Dr. Red Duke Jr. High near “the westside” (think 288) of AISD, training kids for the Medical Arts Programs at high schools in AISD (coming soon/in progress/ school yet to be named/ designated High School3). Prentice and I actually had informal input into the “New High School” through a visit Christmas (2013) with Susan, the CFO (don’t know her current title) of AISD. She headed up the team back then to study the needs, run the numbers (that’s her forte) and plan the building of High School 3. Amazing woman (Amazing school district, which you have now had a glimpse of.) Amazing friend, that Susan. What a wonderful thing to run in to your old teacher; if you see her, tell her I think she looks YOUNG to have taught you way back then. I know she is proud of you, and I feel she should be proud of herself for teaching YOU; look how well you did! She must have been an inspiring teacher. I thank her for getting you grounded to take Advanced Writing at UHCL.You two look so “cute” posing together. We all (including me) had a good “Career Day” experience.Thanks!RAE

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  1. History, Memory, and Why (Some) “Clutter” is Absolutely Essential « Andrew Joseph Pegoda, A.B.D.

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