In my first year of teaching 15 years ago, I was browsing local bookstores for resources that could supplement the textbook that I resented. I became a history teacher to help students make history a living part of their lives and the textbook seemed to have the opposite effect. I grabbed A People’s History of the United States and have yet to put it down.
The way in which Howard Zinn makes history compelling for students is undeniable and a resource that I have decided I — and my students — cannot be without. Many students who find themselves in alternative programs will often say that teachers never made school interesting. Zinn’s work gave me the resource I needed to capture the internal sense of justice so many urban students have. As an educator, I am filled with excitement that although I opened the window with the help of Howard Zinn, they have made the effort to examine what is outside.