Dave McGlothlin Says There’s Always Something New to Learn from History

Posted by Monica Hoel
In 2015 Dave McGlothlin won the honor of being History Teacher of the Year for Massachusetts. But he readily admits that he is constantly learning new stories from our country’s history.

He is well-versed in the dates and historic figures and legendary tales that make up our nation’s commonly shared knowledge of history, and he is mindful of sharing not only U.S. History as it relates to the development of the United States, but also by talking about how our country’s history affects and interacts with the rest of the world.

He is also keenly aware of the fact that he only has a single year to convey rather a lot of information. In deciding what to cover, he says he begins by meeting his students where they are by getting them to relate to the history of topics they are interested in (like technology, for instance). He also challenges them to use their individual talents and passions to connect to the subject. So instead of a paper to show what they’ve learned, students might do dance piece or an art project.

Dave also revamps his curriculum routinely to keep himself fresh and interested – and, therefore, interesting for his students. He remembers how history was made vivid for him at Emory & Henry by professors like Dr. Mac Purifoy who assigned him a project that required him to travel to a church near Emory and report on the building’s history as well as the people named in its cemetery. That project made the stories real for him, and he likes to make that happen for his own students.

Even as a history teacher, he says he is always surprised to hear about the anniversary of an event that he never knew about, and wonders how it has never been in a textbook. As a teacher he encourages his students to remember that we never stop learning; he says a history teacher can’t possibly teach us everything, so we have to be vigilant about continuing our own education.

Dave also owns and operates a bed and breakfast in Provincetown called Christopher’s by the Bay. You can enjoy a conversation with Dave in the WEHC-FM archives.

  • Dave McGlothlin, Emory & Henry Class of 1986

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