A dream come true for teacher
For Todd Edmond, teaching was always something that came naturally.
Having taught history at Columbian High School for 19 years, Edmond has always wanted to find new and interesting ways to present material. Becasue of his experience and that desire to think outside the box, Edmond was selected as one of the teachers who will participate in the 2013 Teacher Fellow Program at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Mich.
While the program has only been around since 2009, the museum itself has been a part of Edmond’s life since he was 8 years old, and is one of the main reasons he became a teacher.
Seeing the chair that President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated in, Edmond said, was the moment that changed everything.
“That was the moment that completely made history real. It was the moment that changed everything, he was not just a cartoon or the guy on the $5 bill,” he said.
Only 12 teachers were chosen for the program. Edmond and others had to go through a competitive application process.
“The wait was the worst part,” He said, adding that he completed his application and essay by the end of October.
“Once I found out, I wouldn’t say I screamed, but my wife told me that the kids were asleep. I am so pumped to get this opportunity. I’ve had fantasies about what I would be able to handle,” Edmond said.
The program uses immersion learning where teachers get to take site visits, tours with the curators and historians, have brainstorming sessions, dialogues and debates. Edmond also can take the resources from the Henry Ford museum and incorporate them in the classroom.
There are several benefits that the program offers in addition to the hands-on experiences – teachers get a $500 honorarium, a one free field trip for a class of 30 students, and a free one-year family membership to The Henry Ford Museum.
“I have always wanted to take kids up to the museum, and now I get that chance,” he said.
The program runs through May, and Edmond said he plans to take his AP U.S History class next year.
Edmond graduated from Columbian High School in 1989. From there he went on to the University of Toledo and Heidelberg University, earning a degree in history.
Edmond said he was inspired to become a teacher in Bob Hall’s seventh grade class.
“Hall taught history in a way I have never seen before,” Edmond said.
He also took inspiration from his father, Dick.
“He was outgoing, and very social,” he said. “I was never afraid to talk or work with people in groups.”
Both of his brothers also are teachers. Tim is an English teacher and Ted is a physical education teacher.
“We never sat down and discussed becoming teachers. It just happened,” Edmond said.
Edmond describes his process as a passion for people and not teaching just dead people and dates.
“It is more behind the emotion and reactions that the people had at that time,” he said. “It is about real people with real emotions. It is not just about the facts. It is about how the facts make people feel. If you can’t answer how something would make you feel then you haven’t learned (anything).”
The Kennedy assassination is his favorite topic to teach.
“It is the one event that changed everything. It changed how people trust the government and it changed how we see America today,” Edmond said. “It is fun to talk about all the conspiracy theories. Most people do not want to accept that Kennedy was just shot by Lee Harvey Oswald. They believe that he was a bigger person so it had to be something bigger.”
Edmond also teaches at Heidelberg and Tiffin universities. He also contributed to two text books on how to teach social studies. One, he co-authored with Judith Jackson-May, a professor from Bowling Green University, called “Chalk Talk.” The other book, Edmond authored is “Methods to the Madness.”
Much in the same way that the program takes him to a familiar location in the Henry Ford Museum, the classroom Edmond teaches in is the very room where everything started.
“This room was the room that I first fell in love with history in, it was the same room I did my student teaching in and now it has been my room for the past 19 years,” he said.