“I think most of us have had the experience of having an extraordinary teacher who changed the way we looked at the world.”
University of Houston history professor Todd Romero directs the annual Humanities Texas Teacher Institute. Sponsored by the Center for Public History, the annual summer institute brings Texas high school history teachers to campus to learn new ways of teaching history.
“One of the most important things I have an opportunity to do, as an historian, is work with secondary school teachers,” he said.
For four days, teachers learn from state and national scholars and each other—in lecture and small group discussions—about best practices, ideas for lessons plans and how to help students use primary sources.
“I just wanted to know what you think,” asked one teacher listening to a scholar discuss Cesar Chavez, the civil rights activist and founder of the American Farmworkers Association. “Thank you for your question,” he replied. “That’s a great question and why I love this institute. Our discussions are exciting.”
Humanities Texas partners with Texas universities to hold the institutes. UH has held them for six years.
“Everything we try to do really focuses on what’s useful on the ground for the teachers,” Romero said. “We really focus on providing the teachers with materials. They leave with a big binder filled with primary sources that they can use the next time they teach.”
One teacher came from Dallas to participate in the Houston institute. She said the discussions and camaraderie are refreshing to teachers who love the subject and want to pass it on to their students.
“No teacher enters the profession because they love to give tests. We signed up to teach history because we love history. This institute makes me a better teacher..”
Humanities Texas Teachers Institute is part of what’s happening at the University of Houston. I’m Marisa Ramirez.