A Behind-the-Scenes of the Social Studies Department

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By Elise Yu

Theodore Roosevelt once said, “The more you know about the past, the better prepared you are for the future.” Here at Williamsville East, students are fortunate enough to choose from a wide array of social studies classes and learn from experienced teachers. 

History—and social studies in general—is a subject that follows the journey of people through thousands of years, following their triumphs and errors and decisions that have shaped how our modern society functions. 

According to Ms. Fey-Daly, if the social studies teachers were to be described in one word, that word would be ”eclectic.” Much like the subject they teach, the teachers who make up the social studies department have different stories that shape who they are. Ms. Fey-Daly continues by stating, “while we all share a common goal and a love for history, we all have certain areas within our discipline that fascinate and intrigue us. Somehow, though, our diverse interests and personalities still make for a fairly cohesive group.” 

For students feeling as if they need extra help in their social studies class, the best course of action would be to come into the social studies department and ask for help. Though this seems simple in theory, some students may find it difficult to ask for help. Regarding this issue, Dr. Redmond says, “Students have to realize that as they advance in their academic career, they become more responsible for their education…This is an important life lesson that they have to learn. All you have to do is come into the office and say, “Can you help me?” and the answer will always be “Yes!”” Whether it is to go over a past test or to catch up on a recent lecture that might have been confusing, students are encouraged to come into the social studies office and speak with a teacher. Dr. Redmond continues by saying that students may also stop by the department just to “hang out.”

Although it may seem that the end goal of students taking any given class would be to pass an end-of-year exam, it is important for students to understand that learning goes beyond taking exams and quizzes. A shared philosophy among teachers consists of giving students a transformative learning experience and motivating students to become global citizens.  

Dr. Redmond says, “A successful learning experience would be anything that gets a student to appreciate the story of the human species and why it is so important to take an active role in that story because the ultimate direction of that story depends on each and every one of us.”

Similarly, Ms. Fey-Daly mentions that all teachers pursued a career in education to “make the world just a little bit better through knowledge.” She hopes that students are inspired to become more “caring, empathetic” people. “History is not merely a collection of names – anymore than you all are when you sit in our classrooms – history is about living and breathing humans who have affected change in our world and our hope is that you can see that you are part of the fabric of that narrative.”

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