Katie Haynes ('19) epitomizes what it means to be a global educator. During her time at App State, Katie traveled to several countries in South America and Europe and pursued a second major in German. Her passion for global education continued off campus as well. She attended a UNC World View conference for global education, and participated in several events associated with the Center for Judaic, Peace, and Holocaust Studies. Katie is a passionate advocate for public education. As an ACES scholar, and an officer for the Appalachian Educators Club, she understood the issues affecting public education in NC while studying at App State. She understdands the important role that social studies teachers can achieve in and out of their classrooms.
A native of Cabarrus County, Katie's passion is to ensure that future students can become globally-conscious and active citizens capable of enacting change in their communities. Her mission as a classroom teacher is to "cultivate a deeper understanding of our own past and culture by immersing ourselves in the perspectives of others." To this end, she works to promote critical inquiry in her classroom so that students can see how history is not only subjective, but also that our own view of the past continually changes as societies themselves grow and change.
Why App State?
Katie Haynes: I visited App State many times in high school. By the time I went to freshman orientation I could give the campus tour by heart. I initially toured App State after seeing a picture of the campus surrounded by the Blue Ridge mountains. It seemed like a beautiful place to spend four years. However, by the end of the day I knew I had found the school for me. Boone felt like a place I would be valued and given the chance to thrive in leadership and education. Every Open House and meeting with professors made me feel like App State cared about my success and had the services in place to help me reach my goals. I never wanted to leave and each trip down the mountain to my home in the piedmont left me missing the mountain town I had come to love. Also, Appalachian State University is known for producing the state’s best educators. I wanted the best possible preparation, and App State offered me time in the classroom as early as my sophomore year! Most importantly, I choose App State because I wanted to study education in an environment where teachers were a priority that mattered.
How did the History Dept., and the History Education program, help prepare you for your career in history/social studies education?
KH: The History Education Program connected me to a network of veteran history teachers currently working in the field. I enjoyed attending program-sponsored professional development sessions targeted toward history education majors. Through events about teaching elections, civil war monuments, and even a Ulysses S. Grant living historian, I witnessed my studies come to life. Real working teachers are using the methods I learned about in my preparation courses and it became a refreshing experience to see how historians “really” work. The program helped me build up my resume and prepare me to be a professional. I learned how to develop a professional website to showcase my resume and curriculum samples to future employers. I kept adding to the website after the semester ended to show my international experience; I am excited to keep using this website as a high school teacher. The program also enabled me to attend the NC Council for Social Studies Conference with my peers, something a teacher may not due until a few years into their career. It was such an invigorating experience to be around new ideas and my future colleagues.
A history ed class was the first time I was asked to plan a semester curriculum and develop a unit of lesson plans. It was daunting and seemed impossible- until I had a the completed product in front of me. The program supported and helped me realize I CAN be a history teacher. Through the history education program I learned to balance the academic study of history with the personal methods of teaching. Today, I am prepared to teach high school students all the skills of a historian, while being armed with best methods and practices of teaching. The history department does an exceptional job of preparing its majors to excel professionally after college.
What would you tell a high school student thinking about attending App State and/or majoring in History (Education)?
KH: There will be a lot of people who will discourage you from becoming a teacher. Even teachers you know and admire will caution you against your choice to follow in their footsteps. My advice would be to really listen and consider what they have to say. I was told countless times to change my degree or major in a different subject or age group. There were even times I considered leaving education and pursuing another path. However, each time I would turn to trusted professors and peers in history education to talk about my fears of teaching and I always came to the same conclusion. Teaching is what I am passionate about and helping my students discover history is my greatest aspiration. So, listen to the people who question you and make you second guess yourself. Overcoming this self-doubt in the field you have chosen will build your confidence that you have made the right decision. Appalachian will challenge you to think critically about what it means to be a teacher and will support you if you decide education is not your path. However, if you decide to continue, the History Department and the College of Education will do everything they can to make sure you are a well prepared and effective social studies teacher.