An essay on teaching History in our times, germinating handwritten in the pages of a Moleskine journal

Early in May we flew to Oklahoma via DFW for the wedding of Grandson No. 1, and I occupied myself on the flight down pencil-scribbling some ideas I had been carrying around for a while. Awakening early the next morning in Purcell, Oklahoma, I poured come coffee and picked up where I had left off, until I had filled eight pages. Then we were off to be occupied with family events.

I realized before quitting, though, that an essay was germinating in my old-man hand on paper, which I gave a title, “Teaching for America in the Twenty-First Century.” At age 72 I am in the middle of a rehab of my teaching program aimed at staying current and, more important, responding to changing times and changing students. This is because, well, things are changing, and I plan to be around for quite some time.

What I have written so far is a lament, possibly even a jeremiad, about how we got into the cultural, political, and intellectual mess we are in. So it’s all gloom and doom so far, but it will not be so as I pick up the thread and carry it on this summer. I will get around to what I’m going to do, I think, which others may wish to emulate, or not. I do hope others may be moved to think, as I have been.

I post here those eight handwritten pages, direct from my journal.