HM - Mar. 2014 - Percoco
Partners in History
Civil War Trust Launches the Teachers Regiment
by Jim Percoco,
Teacher-in-Residence, Civil War Trust
Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain famously spoke at the dedication of the 20th Maine Monument on Little Round Top, on the Gettysburg battlefield, proclaiming “on great fields something abides.” The same can be said of great classrooms.
Great classrooms are sustained by teacher enthusiasm and by ongoing professional development, be it of individual or collaborative nature. Teachers know what good professional development looks like. It is rich in content and scope. It is dynamic, optimistic, and energizing. When you leave a great professional development in-service, conference or meeting you are eager to bring what you learned into your classroom. Most importantly, it is relevant to your instruction and your students’ understanding of history.
The educational team at the Civil War Trust values and honors the good work already being conducted in the classroom and seeks to provide professional development for teachers that will parlay into dynamic learning experiences for students.
The Civil War Trust has launched a new educational initiative, the “Teachers Regiment.” The Regiment takes its name from the 151st Pennsylvania Regiment, which was sometimes called the School Teachers Regiment for the large numbers of educators in its ranks.
In the ever-growing world of professional learning communities (PLC), the Teachers Regiment is a means for you to participate in a large and content-rich collaborative endeavor.
The Civil War Trust wants to create a strong collaborative environment where the individual and collective efforts of the members of the Teachers Regiment will help the Regiment thrive and flourish.
As the telegraph was important for those who lived during the Civil War Era, social media is today’s avenue of communication. One of the Civil War Trust Teachers Regiment goals is to encourage members to communicate with one another, and with the Trust’s educational team, in sharing ideas, methods, and resources electronically and in person, that can be of benefit to all for the growth of the regiment and in helping the Civil War Trust continue to work towards fulfilling its educational mission and its larger mission of battlefield preservation.
Once mustered into the regiment, like those who served in uniform from 1861-1865, members enjoy promotion opportunities within the regiment. Promotions are based on teacher activity in an effort to promote the mission of the regiment. Promotions come with a wide range of perks germane to Civil War history—signed books, special tours, expert tele-conferences, and much more.
Understanding the Civil War is essential to understanding American values. As historian and author Shelby Foote said in the landmark documentary by Ken Burns, The Civil War, “Any understanding of this nation has to be based, and I mean really based, on an understanding of the Civil War. I believe that firmly. It defined us. The Revolution did what it did. Our involvement in European wars, beginning with the First World War, did what it did. But the Civil War defined us as what we are and it opened us to being what we became, good and bad things. And it is very necessary, if you are going to understand the American character…, to learn about this enormous catastrophe of the mid-nineteenth century. It was the crossroads of our being, and it was a hell of a crossroads.”
As a teacher who worked closely with the Civil War Trust when I was in the classroom, I can personally attest to the quality of resources, teacher institutes, and educational programs that they offer. Now as the Trust’s Teacher-in-Residence and Chief of Staff of the Teacher’s Regiment, I invite you to muster into the Regiment and join us as we work together to help our students recognize that when one visits these fields of heroism, sacrifice, and honor, it’s more than just another vacation.