6 Teachers We Love

Local educators talk about the art of teaching and what they've learned from your kids.

Photo by Skip Brown.

Tammy Chincheck

IB History of the Americas teacher, George Mason High School, Falls Church | Years teaching: 34

❝ Students feel a lot of pressure to focus on grades and get into a good college. Some want me to tell them what to write for their thesis or research paper. I am now starting to see students being more positive about not being perfect, embracing that it is okay to make mistakes and even get a B or C from time to time.

❝ In my classroom there are no topics we cannot discuss. There is no history that should be swept under a rug.

❝ Our school is named after George Mason. He was a slave owner. But I can also tell our students that at the time, Mason asked, what’s the alternative? He wrote a letter, if I remember correctly, to Patrick Henry, talking about how if we ended slavery, we would have to make sure there was education for the young slaves so that they could support themselves.

❝ I come from a family of riverboat pilots, tracing back to 1820 on the James River. My grandfather was pretty well known as a riverboat pilot in Charleston, West Virginia. He was still piloting riverboats when he was in his 80s, back in the stern-wheeler days. Having that family history probably sparked my general interest in history.

❝ It is so important to understand the context of each time period in history—how we are the beneficiaries of mistakes others have made, and how we’ve been forced to correct or pay the price.

❝ I think we’re very quick to judge people in the past. We need to know that they were living their lives as we are. There are things we’re doing now that people are going to be furious about. In 100 years, there are probably going to be a lot of folks angry with us about how we’re treating the environment.

Categories: Education
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