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The Untaught Historian is a collection of stories that do not fit in a regular history textbook or lesson but that deserve to be remembered.
During my school years, I appear to have completely zoned out during the history period. I knew the big names – like Ashoka or Chandragupta Maurya or Akbar. I knew the British came followed shortly by Gandhi who returned from South Africa to kick them out.
But a few years ago, I began teaching at a small democratic school in my city, and I offered to teach history.
I have been teaching history for a few years now. When I started teaching, I would tell the story much like how I read it in a book – the overarching plot with very few details. But as time went by, I started reading more and finding that the really important bits of history are in the stories that simply do not fit in a textbook. It is here that we learn something about culture, society, economics, human nature and psychology. History provides context for all sorts of learning.
Today, I teach a wider variety of classes. I teach geography, science, history, and language arts depending on the semester. As a teacher there is no way I can ever get my student to know everything there is to know in a subject. The goal of the teacher then is to stir curiosity and to frame questions that lead a student to become a confident and independent thinker.
I find that regardless of the subject if I want to get the kids in my class to get curious and to start talking, I need to tell them a story – a story of how we know what we know and how we figured this stuff out. This is history.
However, during my research I stumble on so many stories that I cannot fit into my 45-minute lessons. These are stories that make me think or changed my perspective on things.
The Untaught Historian is a collection of these stories that do not make it into my lessons. Stories that I wish I could have spent time on, but could not for whatever reason.
I hope you enjoy these stories. For every story, I have listed my resources. You can explore these to find less opinionated versions of the story. When you finish reading, I hope you will leave me a comment and tell me what you think. I love a good conversation. Also, if you like what you read here, please spread the word.