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Mr. Green completes his first official year as a Duke

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As the 2016-2017 school year came to a clase, social studies teacher Josh Green finished his first official year as a York teacher.

His job at York is the first actual teaching position he’s held, meaning this year has been of great significance to him. With the end of the year, Green is able to evaluate how he has performed as a teacher as well as look back at all the events in his life that have brought him to his current position.

“I got a great experience in my student teaching at Crystal Lake South high school,” said Green. “It’s very similar to York just in terms of the culture and the types of students that are there. I definitely got the best of both worlds because the school I was at before this was a very different type of school. It was a lot of low income or socioeconomic status students where as here that’s not necessarily the case. It really makes you appreciate both sides.”

Green first found out about the many similarities between York and Crystal Lake South during a school tour.

“I remember being blown away on the tour that Mr. McGuire gave us [all the new teachers],” said Green. “We walked through the whole school and I was just beside myself. The commons, like how open and just how beautiful that was with the old building as the walls. I’d never seen something like that at a high school before. Then we walked by the 3-D printers and stuff. They have like four of them; I’ve never even seen one let alone been around multiple.”

His exposure to York has led to him comparing his own high school experience to that of his students which has allowed him to see just how much the community cares about York.

“When I went to high school it was very very different,” said Green. “We didn’t have some of these things, definitely not Chromebooks. It was just amazing to be around a school where clearly the community cares so much about what’s in the school and the resources that you guys get to have. People give up their time, resources and even just money to the school and the community to help get these things for people.”

Photo by Matt Fanelli
Mr. Green’s APUSH class watches a Stephen Colbert clip focusing on campaign finance.

Although Green recognizes all the resources and benefits students have access to as members of York, he stills sees ways in which the school could improve, specifically regarding history courses.

“The school would benefit from other lenses of history,” said Green. “So, you know, we have World History and we have US History, but something like African History would be great to see eventually here at York. Even Asian Studies would be pretty cool. It’s just something you don’t really get in a high school experience that often. We tend to study history from the US perspective, from the world perspective but not from a specific other country’s perspective.”

Green is currently teaching APUSH, a course that has a reputation of being one of the hardest classes at York. Attempting to teach this as his first teaching job would be seemingly difficult.

However, from nearly eight years of work, York now has an incredibly strong program for APUSH.

“Mrs. Iverson, and even Mrs. Turnbulll, what they created before I ever got here is already a phenomenal program,” said Green. “Being able to find the balance between: ‘Here’s an established program that’s had a lot of success already’ and, the other side, ‘I’m a new teacher, and I have new ideas, and how do I bring them into the classroom?’. Trying to find balance between those two ideas was my biggest challenge, but in a good way. I really feel like having a great foundation to spin my own things off of worked really well this year.”

Green’s students agree with him that this year was successful, many of them citing how his personal teaching style helped them learn.

“I really feel like he tried to encourage a lot of interaction between students and himself,” said
Matthew Olsen, junior and APUSH student. “I think beyond that he also tried to help us foster our love for history, but more importantly US history and the different things that shape our country.”

Photo by Matt Fanelli
One of Green’s decorations showcasing the famous VJ-Day parade photo.

An addition to finding his own spin on the curriculum, Green has also found unique ways to decorate his room including several historical photos representative of certain eras.

“We have one here by my desk of the famous sailor coming home after the end of the World War and he’s kissing not his wife, but some random girl,” said Green. “I like that for two reasons because it’s a famous photograph that everybody recognizes, but it’s also famous because not a lot of people realize the backstory. It’s kind of like of a metaphor for our class where on the surface here’s what it appears to be but as we dig and we analyze sources, like this one, we find out that there’s a lot more than meets the eye.”

Along with historical photos that represent the curriculum of his classes, Green has also brought in posters that work to represent the main ideas of his classes.

“It’s [The Lincoln Photo] another perfect example of what we do in class,” said Green. “Just don’t believe everything that has a quote next to it like on Tumblr or something like that. Especially with the theme of social media and ‘fake news’ and all this stuff we’ve talked about this year. Little things like that are always a good constant reminder.”

Photo by Matt Fanelli
Mr. Green bought this poster to lighten up his room as well as remind his students of an important lesson.

Green, as of this year, is also the sponsor of the Sketch Comedy club. Green was instantly eager to sponsor a club once he became a teacher and sketch comedy ended up being the perfect opportunity.

“I’ve always been a huge fan of standup, comedy and stuff like that,” said Green. “I was approached about some of my own APUSH students and they seemed passionate about it. I knew I wanted to get involved. A lot of clubs are sprouting up and I’d like to be in on that and show that I’m committed to the school and that I’m gonna go an extra step the first chance I get.”

 

Although only a sponsor for about one semester, the members of Sketch Comedy club believe Green has been a beneficial addition to the club.

“Mr Green was a really supportive sponsor,” said Connor Markuson, junior and founding member of this year’s Sketch Comedy club. “He wanted us to make our own stuff. He was really funny, he’s a really funny guy, so he’s able to give really good advice about where scenes are going, if they’re funny and how we can change them up and make them a little better. He was a great sponsor.”

With his room decorated and one year down, Green is settling into his position at York and looking toward the future to find ways to improve.

“You always have to be constantly getting better,” said Green. “The big myth is that once you become a teacher you’re teaching it so you never need to learn anything. That’s absolutely not true. ‘You’re a lifelong learner’ is what they’ve always instilled in us, at least in my college experience. You’ll never stop learning, and that’s 100% true. My goal is just to continue to get better every year. That’s always the goal.”

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