What Teachers Are Saying About The Book
Be prepared for a journey through the mind and career of a legendary high school history teacher. Bringing History Home captures the practical frames of mind required of a teacher to keep history class relevant in the lives of young people. The author, Bill Schechter, speaks from a full career of experience, as he sculpts a vision for progressive education that goes beyond trendy analytics to caring deeply about sharing and feeling the human story. This is a no non-sense, right from the heart, must-read for any new high school history teacher full of little tips for the classroom, and big, important lessons for the education world.
Boston Arts Academy, Boston, Mass.
As a master teacher, Schechter provides examples from his many decades of remarkable teaching and curriculum creation, based on his own interdisciplinary, constructivist and active learning approach. This is a wonderful and stimulating book, replete with rich examples from the author’s pedagogy that will help teachers – newer and experienced – to, as Schechter says, “find a style that fits them and utilizes their strengths to the best advantage.” His reflections on the nature of his discipline and the possibilities of “Doing History”; on "the normal vicissitudes of a teacher’s life”; and on "finding a way of being in the classroom” are particularly valuable. The most stimulating book on teaching today’s students I have read. It made me want to get into a social studies classroom and get to it!
Robin L. Roth, PhD.
Professor, Graduate School of Education,
Lesley University, Boston, Mass.
Both practical and visionary, this book takes us into a classroom where history is not distant but is given to students to make. At once dynamic and moving, the book is filled with enlivening pedagogical tools that enable students to experience themselves as part of history. Thank you, Bill Schechter, for showing us how we can rescue public education from the current onslaught of desiccated metrics and make teaching and learning as ethical and transformative as today’s endangered world surely needs schools to be.
Jessica Wender Shubow,
Brookline H.S., Brookline Mass
Bill Schechter's book is not a blueprint for teaching history. It would be counter to the author's philosophy to create something so proscriptive. Rather it is like a hand-drawn map, vividly rendered from memory after years of travel -- a guide to classroom discovery in which the quest itself is revealed to be the true treasure.
In Schechter's classroom, teachers are set free to design lessons which engage young people and encourage critical thinking. Students are awakened to the urgency of historical debate. So engaged, they may remember a single lesson for their entire lives. Is this for real? Very much so. I know because I was his student.
Emmy-nominated producer of historical films for PBS
A warm and inviting reflection on the art and craft of teaching, written by a master educator. This book offers both beginning teachers and veterans insights into how to inspire students to go beyond test scores and numbers. An important work in these troubled educational times.
Scarsdale H.S., Scarsdale, NY
History class has meant, for many, memorizing names, dates, and places for a never-ending series of multiple choice tests. Not, however, for students in Bill Schechter’s history classes. In Bringing History Home: A Classroom Teacher’s Quest to Make the Past Matter, Schechter deftly looks at the techniques and materials, the strategies and concepts that he put to work, to great effect, as a high school history teacher. This is not a collection of lesson plans; it is, rather, the revelation of ways to think about how to help students see the reasons that the past matters. Schechter uses poetry, music, field work, and controversy to hook students to the world around them. My son is a high school history teacher—I’m giving this book to him.
Senior Lecturer in Education, Tufts University
Bill Schechter is the best history teacher I ever had and a beloved legendary instructor from his days at Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School. Bringing History Home is a godsend for educators looking for ways to inspire their students and foster a love of learning about the past. Bill beautifully chronicles how he and his students brought history to life by becoming musicologists, theater directors, Thoreau cabin builders, mural painters, mock trial judges, tour guides, poets, sociologists, and agents of change. Ultimately, Bill's creative ideas, humorous stories, and life lessons highlight why we need our schools to be innovative, supportive academic communities instead of test prep factories.
Author of Creative Adventures in Social Studies
History teacher and curriculum coordinator
E.W. Thurston J.H.S., Westwood, Mass.
The author is clearly the kind of teacher that we were lucky to have once or twice in our school career and that we fervently hope our children (ant grandchildren) will encounter. Bill Schechter's inspiring and engrossing book reminds us that a transformative public education is not about textbooks, curricula and tests. It's about humans, teachers and students, connecting and sharing challenging ideas and stories. It's a clarion call to give today's teachers the resources and autonomy to make their classrooms come alive.
Citizens for Public Schools, Boston, Mass.
Bill Schechter is The Master Teacher of Bringing History Home. I regard public schools as the citadels of America’s Democracy, and the social studies classroom as the crucible in which the narrative of our nation’s civic creed is conjured up, allowing students to gain a deep understanding, and in the words of Dr. King, “to one day live out the true meaning of its creed.” This book is a “must read” for any high school history teacher determined to enliven social studies and inspire their students’ imagination to what is truly possible in living out the America Dream.
Cambridge Rindge & Latin H.S., Cambridge, Mass. (Larry 109)