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Gabriella Skwara

Queen Elizabeth II's Platinum Jubilee: Time to Take a Look Back

As a World History teacher at The Beekman School, I love introducing students to British History and the colorful rulers that people its pages. In part, my fascination stems from the way in which tradition and novelty are continually interwoven within the traditions of the British monarchy. We got to witness a glimpse of this as the United Kingdom celebrates Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee during a four-day bank holiday weekend that began this past Thursday. Elizabeth II has now reigned for 70 years, and as such is “the Queen” whom the world immediately equates with Britain.

The Coronavirus and its Toll on our Mental Health

It was lovely getting to meet many parents in person again after the long hiatus of remote and hybrid instruction.  This past semester has been full of these happy reminders of more normal times. With all that being said, it is still important for us to acknowledge how much things have changed and that change is never easy, regardless of whether it is for the better or the worse. In fact, life changes rank amongst the key stressors that humans have to cope with.

People are Fundamentally the Same

Why should we study history? There are many potential answers to this question, but one of the most crucial is the way in which history helps us to better understand ourselves by illustrating just how universal our experiences and behaviors are. My favorite way of bringing this fact home is through having students look at primary source documents, and allowing them to figure out for themselves what the documents are telling us.

"Kvelling" about Our Kids

As teachers, we often spend hours discussing classroom and student problems and how to fix them. A phone call from one of us generally means that something has gone wrong or that some work has gone undone. I probably dread these conversations even more than the student whose parents I’m reaching out to does. I far prefer the quick words shared with a parent as they drop off their kid or getting to know people face-to-face at parent-teacher night. The reason? Teachers (not unlike parents) absolutely love being able to brag about their students’ successes and achievements.

Women's History is American History

This semester, a group of Beekman students have been exploring U.S. history and the history of the presidency from a new angle. In First Ladies, we are examining the evolution of the often full-time (and always unpaid) position that accompanies that of the President. At its most basic, the term merely designates the wife of a U.S. President, but it has also always signified a role as official hostess for White House events both large and small, be they social or political in nature.

"Don't Boo--Vote!"

This week marked the final presidential debate prior to Election Day 2016. In just under three weeks, we will head to the polls and select our next president.

For history teachers, election years provide a wealth of ready-made lesson topics and fuel for class discussions. However the premise has been tested this year, as the election has become increasingly contentious and the political debates have become personal instead of substantive.

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