Ask a Public Historian: Joshua Montgomery

Joshua Montgomery is a history teacher at Bayside Academy and is also the head of the High School.

What made you want to teach History? 

    I always enjoyed history but never thought of it becoming an integral part of my professional career.  Like many educators, I was heavily influenced by an experience I had when I was a student.  For me, I had a college history professor who made a lasting impact on me throughout my time in college.  His impact on my consumption of historical content and the manner in which he delivered his lessons made me consider going into the profession myself.   

Have you ever hit a speed bump in your career that you feel has made you grow?    

     As a teacher I never really had speed bumps other than the typical moments of adversity you face as an educator.  That being said, I was charged with being the department chair for a number of years and part of my job was to help create academic standards for our department grades 3-12.  Leading a collaborative process can be daunting because you have to be willing to have courageous conversations with people who might not agree with your perspective.  The discussions and debates the history staff had during the two years where we discussed those standards and their implementation was a massive moment of growth.  I learned about how I think history should be taught and I learned how to lead a group of people toward finding consensus and pushing a vision forward.  

What is your favorite period of history to teach and why? 

     I am a Civil Rights Historian by definition but I love teaching about post-war America, Progressive Era politics, and Manifest Destiny.  

What advice do you have for a senior in college who is trying to figure out his or her career path after graduating? 

    Follow your heart and not your wallet.  Once you find something you love doing, then figure out how you can make more money doing it.  But never forget that passion and purpose is what ultimately keeps people happy. 

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