I began my teaching career in 1965 after receiving a teaching diploma from McGill University’s Macdonald College. I earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Montreal’s Concordia University in 1967. My major field of study at Concordia was history. Throughout my 25-year teaching career I taught history at several grade levels from fifth grade to twelfth grade. I learned very quickly that to reach the hearts of my students, history had to be made immediately relevant and accessible to them: that some event that took place a thousand years before they were born had a direct and profound influence on their lives.
It was a daunting task. For example, how does one convince a 17-year old that the sudden death of an Anglo-Saxon king a thousand years ago could possibly have anything to do with that skeptical teenager’s life? I discovered that you do so by painting an historical and emotional picture and putting that teenager into that picture so that he or she realizes that had the Anglo-Saxon king not died exactly when he did, no one on earth would speak English, because the language would not exist.
The most obvious target audience is the 35 million high school and college students in the United States, but the major audience is every American, from teenager to senior citizen who has an interest in the welfare of the nation itself. Perhaps the most important audience, however, might be the current members of Congress, most of whom don’t seem to know much about their country’s history or appreciate how vulnerable democracy is to tyranny or greed. This unnerving fact suggests that the real audience is every American who wants the country to survive.