Afterword

Those who can not tell what they desire or expect, still sigh and struggle with indefinite thoughts and vast wishes.
—Ralph Waldo Emerson

If there is an underlying message that unites this guide, it is an exhortation always to be striving. Push yourself as a teacher and your students as learners; constantly take what is routine and mechanical and transform it into an activity that stimulates inquiry, requires judgment, invites discussion, and provokes thought. If a lesson is to fail, let it be because it asked the students to do something they were not yet ready to do, not because it asked of them something not worth their effort. And, as Emerson's words remind us, do not judge your students' willingness to undertake hard tasks by what they say day by day; there is not a person alive who does not find satisfaction in mastering a substantial task or in gaining a deeper understanding of what confronts him in his daily life.

Helping young people take up this struggle is what, at one point, led all of us into teaching social studies. The strategies and tools we have contributed to this guide are ones that have helped orient us toward that goal amid the daily tempests of the school year. We hope they likewise prove valuable to you.

—Charles Moody, AP U.S. History, W. Charles Akins High School, Austin ISD, Austin, Texas

[return to original]