Rebekah Washburn ('17) is a native of Boone, NC, and a graduate of Watauga High School. She completed her student teaching at Ashe County High School in Spring 2017. Rebekah taught in Caldwell County Schools before returning to Ashe HS to join the social studies department.
Why did you decide to become a History/Social Studies Educator?
Rebekah Washburn: In high school, I took an AP European History class and I absolutely loved my teacher and the content. Learning about how people in the past thought about the world around them and how they influenced the world I live ini were exciting to me. When I came to ASU, though, I had no intention of becoming a teacher. I was instead leaning towards marketing or global studies. In the middle of my sophomore year, I was aware that I needed to declare a major soon and I started talking to my friends and one was a history major. She wanted to teach in college and I started thinking about how much I love history and how I always had. I also knew that I loved all the history courses I took in college and that I enjoyed working with teenagers. Once I'd considered that, it made it easy to stick to Social Studies Education and being in the classroom has solidified for me that I want to teach.
What excites you the most about working with students?
RW: As much as I love the content, it is honestly the relationships I get to form with students. The more I get to know students and the more comfortable we are with each other, the better the lessons become. I don't have to think as much about how to modify something for my group of kids, but instead I naturally start to plan with them in mind. We have so much fun in the classroom and the more I got to know them, the more activities and creative lessons I was able to come up with, so they're learning without me having to explicitly tell them everything.
What advice would you provide students interested in majoring in History and History/Social Studies Education?
RW: If you love history or teaching, definitely consider it. What's great about social studies is that it covers more than just history and it's about a lot more than names and dates. Social Studies educators can teach their students about other cultures, but also about psychology and sociology, as well as appreciating the value of the past, so that we can have a better future. Additionally, we're teaching them how to think for themselves and ask questions about the world around them, so they can form their own opinions. If you're interested in helping teenagers learn not just about the past, but about how to think and become globally-aware, productive citizens, then it's the perfect spot for you.
Why should high school students consider Appalachian State University?
RW: I'm a little biased since I grew up around here, but it's a truly gorgeous area. It also doesn't feel like a big school even though it's growing every year. I frequently see friends and acquaintances when I walk around campus and even when I don't, I see the same people, so my day is made up of friendly and familiar faces. The campus is beautiful and manageable, as it doesn't take more than about 15 minutes to walk anywhere on campus. The faculty are supportive and knowledgeable and even professors that I had class with at the beginning of my time at App recognize and greet me when we run into each other. I've spent a very happy four years here and I absolutely recommend ASU, but everyone is different, so look for a place that will make you happy.