Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

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Making Civics Real Workshop 7: Controversial Public Policy Issues  
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Workshop 7

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Teacher Perspectives
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Teacher Perspectives: Her background

JoEllen Ambrose: I became a teacher right out of college. I was trained [in] political science secondary education. Law school was sort of in the career plan but I really enjoyed activities where I had volunteered to work with young people. Because I sensed I’m a people person, it felt more comfortable to look into education. I think working with young people is pretty powerful, and it’s meaningful. I was looking for a career that would offer that kind of meaning, and I think I’ve found it in education. I’ve also found an excitement, a spark that makes you say, “That was really fun. I liked that.” And I like the content area. Talking about principles underlying the Constitution or the role of citizenship is pretty powerful stuff. When I was a student, that’s the stuff [that] really, really brought in my interest and I was really engaged.

Even though you had the history teacher who said, “These battles are really important, and we need to know these dates,” there were those social studies teachers that said, “Now let’s role-play or let’s take a different perspective,” and that was a really fun knowledge base to come into education with. I remember when they first had strategies that were simulation-based. I remember doing one on the Cuban missile crisis. That was one of my favorite school activities. We all [had] different roles in the President's cabinet, and we were responding to the crisis in Cuba and our relations with the Soviet Union. That experience meant a lot to me [and] kind of led me toward social studies. It wasn’t a rote-learning experience.


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