Submitted By Marissa Kessenich
In June, Timothy Green, a teacher at Johnson High School, was selected to attend a prestigious professional development institute in San Antonio sponsored by Humanities Texas in partnership with The University of Texas at San Antonio.
Mr. Green, who teaches AP U.S. history and Model United Nations at Johnson, participated in “Teaching the American Literary Tradition,” which took place from June 11–14.
The institute focused on topics and skills central to the state’s high school English language arts curriculum. Topics included the American Renaissance, the literature of the Civil War era and the Gilded Age, the Harlem Renaissance, American writing during the World Wars, contemporary American fiction and poetry and how American life has been portrayed in not only literature but also music, drama, television and film.
Distinguished scholars from universities across the nation worked with teachers to improve the quality of classroom teaching in Texas. In all, nearly 250 outstanding Texas teachers participated in the five summer institutes Humanities Texas held in June 2018. Faculty members included Pulitzer Prize-winning historians David M. Oshinsky (NYU), David Kennedy (Stanford), and Alan Taylor (University of Virginia); National Book Award finalist John Phillip Santos (The University of Texas at San Antonio); and many other distinguished scholars from leading universities across the nation.
The institute offered dynamic presentations, probing discussions and focused seminars in which scholars and teachers developed strategies for engaging students. Poet Joe Jiménez and National Book Award finalist John Phillip Santos read from and discussed their work with teachers at an evening event during the program.
Mr. Green attended the English language arts institute to elevate the content of his classes.
“I intend to use the literature and resources from this institute to highlight the ways that the American identity is defined and challenged in various periods in U.S. history,” he commented.
“Humanities Texas was pleased to sponsor the San Antonio institute,” said Executive Director Michael L. Gillette. “Giving talented teachers the opportunity to interact with their peers and leading scholars will enable them to engage students with exciting new resources and perspectives on our nation’s literary history.”
“Teaching the American Literary Tradition” was made possible with support from the State of Texas, the Kronkosky Charitable Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities. Humanities Texas is the state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Its mission is to advance education through programs that improve the quality of classroom teaching, support libraries and museums and create opportunities for lifelong learning for all Texans. For more information about Humanities Texas, visit www.humanitiestexas.org.