Maria Verly

Mrs. Whitmore is a history teacher at South Windsor High School.

Featured Teacher: Ms. Whitmore

Prowl: What inspired you to become a teacher?

Ms. Whitmore: “What inspired me to become a teacher was in fifth grade I was very very bad at math. I was terrible, so my fifth grade math teacher offered to tutor me Fridays during my lunch period, which, now looking back as an educator, it was a pretty big thing for her to do because that was her off time. And, I just remember feeling empowered, and I felt special that an adult was taking their time to explain things to me. I just remember thinking that this was such a wonderful feeling and that I would love to do that for someone else. So, for a while I wanted to be a math teacher. It turned out that my math skills got infinitely worse, or as math would say, exponentially worse. I had a very different history teacher in my freshman year, and I remember that he made me look at history differently than most other people had because usually I was reading a textbook, but for him it was discussion and debates. I was still really shy and was not coming out of my shell, but I just remember feeling this is how history can be? And then what really put the nail on the head was my junior year AP U.S. History teacher who made me fall in love with the subject and see how cool it can be in all these different perspectives of people around the world and how that shaped history. And that was the ‘oh I want to do this’, and I want to do this with history.”

Prowl: How many years have you been teaching?

Ms. Whitmore: “This is my third year teaching.”

Prowl: What is your favorite part of world history that you like to teach?

Ms. Whitmore: “I really enjoy teaching decolonization, especially with Apartheid and what comes after it. I think for students it is really important to see how bad regimes can fall and how people come about reconciling with it in a much more mature fashion. If you look at Nelson Mandela, a man who is multidimensional, and in the beginning, a lot of people found him a threat, but as he got older, he changed. And I think for a lot of folks your age in particular, it is important to see how people can be dynamic and how people can change and that someone is not just set in a particular role.”

Prowl: What is one of your favorite things about being a teacher? 

Ms. Whitmore: “I love the relationships I get to build with my students. My highlight of the day is when I have former students come and say hi to me. It is because it is so wonderful that you are going off and making new connections with other teachers but you still remember to come by and say hello.”

Prowl: What is one part that you don’t like to teach about?

Ms. Whitmore: “I got to say the French Revolution because I just feel like it is our longest unit.” 

Prowl: What is your favorite activity to give the students? 

Ms. Whitmore: “I really like the activity that I give you guys to actually look at people. For example, the Russian Revolution and you guys took cards or when we did the Nuremberg Trials and you get to trial the Nazis anything that is much more engaging and hands on for you guys.”

Prowl: Is there anything that you want to say to any students who might be reading this and who might have you as a teacher?

Ms. Whitmore: “This is obviously a plug, but I think that History is the best. And just know that what I value the most is you feeling safe and welcomed in this classroom and that I want to make sure that you feel this here.”


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