Upper Arlington history teacher explains when students will use class content in the real world

by Hallie Underwood, ’20

“When will we use this in life?” It is no secret that the question enters the heads of many students. Memes float around the internet asking how to pay taxes and getting answers that mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell. Pupils lean back in old, classroom desks or slump into the pillows on their bed. Their textbooks are sprawled across their space, but a puzzled look remains on their face. Out of frustration, confusion or even disinterest, a lot of information seems irrelevant as students begin to visualize bright futures after high school.

When it comes to history, though, social studies teacher Joe Endres said the subject teaches students necessary skills for the future and roots them in a place in time.

“History class continues to develop reading, writing and analytical skills which are vital skills for any profession,” Endres said. “I feel that it is so important for anybody to have a solid grasp of history. First, it provides context. If you don’t know your history, then you’re adrift on a sea of meaningless data. When and where things came from is lost on you. Knowing your history helps you to understand the community, country and world in which you live. Second, the study of history is the study of human beings. This is personally why I fell in love with history: you get to learn about how people survived terrible events, how different cultures developed, how people rose to power, important decisions and discoveries that were made—the whole great journey of humanity.”

Endres said an understanding of history gives students an understanding of humanity.

“This knowledge makes you more thoughtful, compassionate and helps you to place your own life into a more meaningful perspective. Lastly, history can be inspiring. Understanding at the great accomplishments of humanity can be humbling and inspire you to do good with your own life,” Endres said.

Beginning Aug. 27, Endres is advising History Club Mondays after school in room 105. There, students will be able to research “a specific topic in history that they cannot explore to their satisfaction in history class.”

The club’s members will prepare for the 2019 National History Day competition in the spring.