Educators are often asked the question; so, "Why did you become a teacher?" Last year during teacher appreciation week, I wrote a blog post recognizing the primary reason why I became a teacher; Mr. Dale Vaughan, my high school history teacher and football coach. (Teacher Appreciation Week. Have you thanked your favorite teacher(s)? If not, here is a good reason to consider doing so.) The other most important aspect of why I became a teacher were my Dad and Mom and the opportunities they provided to learn so much through our family travels. Because it is teacher appreciation day, I want to recognize two amazing teachers in my life; my Dad and Mom.
(That's me enjoying a bath at a campground.)
Every year, we would plan our summer destination, then begin looking at maps and discussing potential routes, destinations, and places to see. As you can see on the following map, by the time I graduated from high school, I visited 32 states, Canada, and Mexico.Our travels took us through almost all geographic areas of the United States including mountains, deserts, forests, great lakes, and plains. I sat in the back seat of the the 1973 Chevy Impala station wagon looking at a map; always wanting to know where we were in relation to the map and in comparison to what I saw out the window of the car. We traveled across the Rocky, Appalachian, and Sierra Nevada Mountains, to the beaches of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, across the Mississippi, Ohio, and Missouri Rivers, and to numerous national parks such as Yosemite and Grand Canyon. Our travels always included other historical learning opportunities, including the site of the Boston Massacre, Washington D.C., Gettysburg Battlefields, Statue of Liberty, a tour of the U.S.S. Enterprise aircraft carrier, and crossing the Golden Gate and Mackinac suspension bridges.
After that brief summary and looking at some of the photos from our travels, you will probably understand where my love for the social studies started. After high school, becoming a social study teacher was my goal because I wanted to share my passion for history and geography with my students.
Looking back on my travels with my family, these “vacations” were mostly learning experiences and it was my Dad and Mom who instilled in me a love for the social studies. I will be forever grateful for the financial sacrifices and effort my Dad and Mom made to provide these memorable experiences to me and our family. They sincerely believed in the following: