By Bob Jamison

          That has to be far from the truth! If history is dull it is the fault of the procedure to learn. Teachers who excel in teaching history, in my opinion, do so by the story that was created. Dates, names and locations that are required to be memorized are like a tailless monkey swinging from the trees. It would seem if the story is interesting and exciting as most historical feats are, then the student will naturally want to learn when and why their hero died, won or survived.

          The ability to tell a story from an interesting slant is several clicks above a boring lecture of statistical facts. All those details become a quick cure for insomnia in the class room. Many students from middle school to post graduate college students, if offered the opportunity, will design their assignments to avoid history in most cases for that very reason.

          On the other hand, astute teachers can take most any event in history and turn it into a story that can brighten the day for a student. Why, because those events that have been memorialized over the ages were absolutely true for the most part and are amazingly interesting.

          As an example: An event near our home happened during the Civil War right over in Sabine Pass just south of Port Arthur, Texas. An Irishman named Dick Dowling and his small group with cannonade stopped the Union ships dead in the water and became instant heroes in these parts. Most young people have visited this very spot and never realized what happened until they heard this story.

          Within the sound of the Twin Sister Cannon at San Jacinto in the famous battle that won the independence for Texas from Mexico, could have been heard from right where we are. The details are as exciting as the patriots winning the battle of Trenton, NJ against great odds of the British encampment. In other words, history has to be personal in a way.

          Of course, all realize that our teachers have guide lines that include certain requirements that might appear in the usual examination process. This doesn’t mean it should be circumvented nor be sacrificed in the art of telling the story.

          A change of the scene in the classroom is also something that is often overlooked. There are subjects as near as the telephone book in your own community. For instance, there are some veterans that might be pleased to give a first hand account of that historic battle on D-Day that led to the liberation of Europe or others.

          An inside look of the goings on or past events of NASA could be available through their public relations department. Videos of those events are also available with actual views of drama that certainly made history and made history interesting.

          Sure, it is a challenge and our teachers of today are the very ones that can carry the messages to their students in a manner that will cause comments such as, “I never thought history was so interesting; now it’s my favorite subject.” This in itself is the gratification a good teacher will cherish.

          One of the most famous orators of all time was Patrick Henry who once said, “My path of the future is lighted by the lamp of the past.”

          As in the old hymn, “I love to tell the story, ‘twill be my theme in Glory” is the type feeling when you tell the story that just might someday change a young person’s dream to emulate meaningful personalities of our forefathers. It’s certainly worth a try.