Petal history teacher selected for C-SPAN Educators' Conference

Petal history teacher selected for C-SPAN Educators' Conference

PETAL, MS (WDAM) - A Petal Middle School U.S. History teacher is heading to a conference hosted by C-SPAN in Washington, D.C.

Cathy Lee is one of 30 educators from across the country selected to attend C-SPAN Classroom's 2016 Educator's Conference July 11-12.

"It's quite an honor," Lee said. "It's very exciting. I applied last year, and I did not get chosen. So this year, I was very excited to get chosen to go."

A panel of C-SPAN representatives evaluates and selects conference attendees "based on their dedication to learning new resources, applying them in the classroom environment, and sharing their professional development experiences in their academic communities," a news release from C-SPAN said.

"Nationwide, you fill out forms, and you have to write an essay," Lee said. "They're mainly looking for teachers that are looking for new ways to incorporate new ideas and things into their lessons to make it more interesting for the students. They have many, many resources, and so they want to teach us how to use those to help our students when we come back and go back to our classroom."

Craig McAndrew, C-SPAN manager of education relations, said, "The educators' conference provides an opportunity for teachers to discover creative strategies to integrate C-SPAN programming into classroom activities. Our goal is to connect students with public affairs content that cultivates a better understanding of how our federal government works."

Lee said she hopes the availability of records, like original speeches from lawmakers, from C-SPAN helps students have a deeper, fuller understanding of how the government works.

"A lot of times with U.S. History, it's nice to go back when we're studying the documents, like The Declaration of Independence or The Constitution, to be able to go back and see how it's being used today by modern congressmen to make their points and write their laws," Lee said.

She said she also hopes to find new ways to help her students easily gasp what those documents say.

"For our students, the simpler the better, where we can break it down where they understand it" Lee said. "We do a lot of studying primary documents where they have to read the language that these original papers were written in, and even though, it's English, it's very different. It's very hard to decipher, so it really helps once they've done that to see that it's still being used today in our lawmaking process in America for the government to work. They really enjoy seeing that connection."

Lee said she's excited to be able to represent Petal at the conference, but most excited to learn techniques to make her students better global citizens.

"We have a a great school system, and we always work towards excellence," Lee said. "But our mission is to help our students be global citizens. So for me as a history teacher, it's not about the old history. It's about the old history, the new history and how our country will move forward. We need to understand those things and how they blend for our country to continue to be a success. For me, (it's) bringing that here (to Petal Middle School), having all of these resources brought into Petal and the recognition because they do work really hard to make our jobs easy to help our students excel at all times and hopefully, be global citizens."