Today, history educators lost at great man. A man that has changed my life, although I didn't truly realize how much until I learned of his passing this evening. Oddly, my last Moffat book was dedicated to Bill and my TAH cohort.
A few days ago, I posted about change and how teaching is like a closet. New things come in to make change.
Seven years ago, TAH and Bill Virden entered my life. At the time, I appreciated history more and more. At the time, my husband was unemployed and the TAH grant was an option for classes. I vividly remember coming home to my husband proclaiming that I could get paid to go to to history class. REALLY?!?!?!?!? It was a new day!
The TAH (Teaching American History) grant class was both exhilarating and intimidating at the same time. At the time, I taught Kindergarten. I was sitting in a room with middle and high school teachers. Again, I taught Kindergarten. I was happy to teach my kids about basic landmarks and the current president.
Bill Virden was our leader for TAH, accompanied by his incredible group of expert teachers. For the next four years, I was engaged monthly with an enlightened group of passionate history educators. Friendships were made, knowledge grew and a bond was established. It was amazing. Yet again remember, I was a Kindergarten teacher among jr/hs teachers.
Over the years, I grew and apparently, Bill realized that time in class had changed me. He believed in my work with young kids and was invested in my career. I remember the day when he and his wife took the time to drive down from Denver to see my first graders (I moved up) present their American history reports. It meant a lot to me to have he and Jo make the trip.
My time in TAH opened many new doors. in time, I had the confidence to apply for NEH and Gilder Lehrman courses. I was accepted. Yet again, I was changed. I began writing curriculum for various establishments. A more significant shift happened in my classroom teaching. History was the root of my curriculum. Everything could be taught through it.
I vividly remember the summer of 2013. The previous summer, I had to bow out of the week long TAH class. I was beginning my masters courses at Colorado College. I had to make a choice. However, history was alive and well in my mind and I managed to get excused from a week of my master's class to attend the TAH summer course. Bill had an a line up for the elementary teachers that was amazing! Again, I was changed.
I am the educator today because of a change in my closet. This change was Bill Virden. Many of us are the educators today because of Bill Virden. He opened new doors in my life and created change. I am better for it. I am thankful for it.
Rest in peace. You will be missed more than you know!