Teacher Spotlight- Ms. Farris

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Teacher Spotlight- Ms. Farris

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Haley Hartner, News Editor

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Ms. Farris is Wellington High School’s widely recognized US history teacher and now he Wave’s teacher of the month.   She presents information about some of the darkest periods of our country’s history in a hands-on way that allows students to understand the perspectives and mindsets of the perpetrators and the victims, instead of from the view of an outsider simply looking in.

However, Ms. Farris is not just known for the information she teaches, she is also recognized for her unconventional teaching methods and her contributions to the well-being of her students.  She preaches positivity and inclusivity, and encourages students to formulate their own conclusions about the world by showing them how to dig past the predisposed information and opinions that have been given to them.

The Wave had the opportunity to speak to Ms. Farris in hopes of giving other students a sense of who she is as not only a teacher but a person, and show what exactly makes an exemplary teacher.

The Wave: I noticed that you studied political science in college, why did you decide to teach US history instead of a subject like government?

Ms. Farris: US history tells us the story. It shows us our past and our political thoughts which shaped who and how we are. Government (with our standards) is the structure and purpose. History has more voices—even if they were silenced.

 

W: What is one preaching or moral that you want your students to take away after their time with you?

F: It is hard to choose one…Where you spend your money today determines the world you live in tomorrow.

 

W: Subjects such as the Holocaust, the Civil War, and the Civil Rights Movement expose the moral deficiencies of other people(s).  So when discussing these topics, is there any kind of lesson or idea that you want your students to keep in mind or learn from these discussions?

F: Our identity shapes us…it is how we see and respond to things both in the past and in the present. It is easy to judge the past and question but we aren’t so quick to do that in the present. Perhaps it is our voice…sharing what we know not just about the historical event but the people involved…who they were before as well. To approach these subjects you must be willing and able to go safely into them; safely through them, and safely out so you can truly learn and not just memorize a few things.

 

W: Why do you believe that unconventional teaching methods is better in terms of content comprehension, especially for US history?

F: History is a story of many voices and all of these voices are needed to learn what was (not wasn’t). We need to understand those involved so we understand the why not just the how. This is what makes learning…it’s not the I can google it mentality for short term passage of information.

 

W:  Are there any other events in US or world history that you would teach if you had the option to?

F: No…these are the big moments that have special meaning and connection.  So many hours of educational opportunities, grants and primary sources to still go through; I can’t see tackling another one at this point.
The only one I could consider despite the pain and genetic memory would be Wounded Knee and the trail of Tears.

 

W: What advice do you have for incoming US history students?

F: Be willing to find your voice and not to sacrifice it for someone else’s comfort.

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