Wednesday, October 12, 2016

7 Questions with Regina Holland, Social Studies Teacher on Special Assignment

Regina has worked for Henry County Schools for 25 years as a Social Studies teacher, but teaching is a second career for me.  In addition to her educational masters and specialist degrees, she has a business degree from Georgia State University  and worked in the field of personnel for 6 years prior to entering education.  She has taught grades 4, 5, 7 and 8 in the subject areas of United States History and World Geography and currently serves Henry County Schools (Georgia) as a Teacher on Special Assignment serving secondary Social Studies teachers.  Her professional goals include continuing to work in curriculum and instruction and obtaining my doctoral degree.

1.   How and/or when did you get you hooked on history?
I didn’t get hooked on history until I got to college.  At Georgia State, I had a history professor that taught history using an inquiry design model, and this truly changed the lens through which I viewed historical events.

2.   What role does history play or has it played in your personal life?
History has become one of favorite past times.  During my off time, you can probably find me exploring museums, touring historic sites, researching at the archives, library, and/or internet, rummaging through attics and basements, shopping at antique markets, watching documentaries, movies and/or television shows about historical events, and listening to stories about the past from the elderly (my favorite).

3.   How is/How was history a part of your professional life/career?
As a Social Studies teacher for the last 25 years, I feel blessed to be able to incorporate my love for history into my professional life and share that same passion with students.  In addition, being selected to participate in the Teaching American History grants for over a ten-year period really increased my content knowledge and passion for teaching history.

4.   Why is studying/knowing history important?
Studying and/or knowing history is important because of so many interesting reasons, but I think the major ones are:
  • First and foremost, studying history is fascinating!  Learning the trials, bravery, convictions, courage, mistakes, motivations, hope and triumph of the famous and not-so-famous faces in history and how they have shaped what the world is like today is inspiring.
  • Studying history helps us to better understand why things are the way they are today.  By studying the past, we can observe change and continuity and also explore the rational for why things occurred throughout time.
  • Studying history increases our problem solving skills because we are required to use a variety of thinking skills as we inquire, research, and develop our own opinions along the way.

5.    What is your favorite period or aspect of history to learn about and why?
My favorite period of history to learn about is the modern Civil Rights Movement.  I think this is because I was born in 1963 right in the middle of when the nonviolent protesting of this movement was gaining national attention.  As an adult, I have always been interested in learning more about this inspirational and conflicted time in history.

6.   What does your job as a Teacher on Special Assignment (TOSA) entail?
My job as Teacher on Special Assignment involves providing professional development and instructional coaching support to secondary social studies teachers toward the goal of increased student learning.

To accomplish this, I am responsible for the following:
  • attending workshops to enhance my professional staff development foundational knowledge and skills.
  • coordinating and presenting relevant workshops and in-service training to Social Studies teachers.
  • making presentations at Henry County Board of Education staff meetings to facilitate our vision for Social Studies.
  • modeling and coaching research-based effective instructional strategies in classrooms including student engagement, classroom management, teaching to standards and competencies, integrating writing across the content area, assessment techniques, feedback, and intervention.
  • presenting model lessons in classrooms.
  • visiting classrooms to provide observational feedback and support to teachers.
  • engaging in discussions with teachers to encourage reflection on effectiveness of teaching strategies.
  • supporting and participating in the Professional Learning Communities process at secondary schools.

7.   What are some high points and low points of being a social studies TOSA?
High points of my job include being able to assist teachers throughout our district in a variety of ways (sharing teaching lessons and strategies, supplying materials, and providing support and encouragement), serving as a liaison between our district and schools,  communicating what’s working and not working within our schools, and representing Henry County Schools to other districts in our state and nation.  The downside of my job is when I’m not able to provide materials and/or support to teachers because of budgeting reasons, time restraints, or nonalignment with the overall vision for Social Studies in our district.