Headed to the White House

History teacher one of 60 chosen for institute
Headed to the White House

A Webb City history teacher is one of sixty nationwide selected to take part in the White House History Teacher Institute. It’s a learning opportunity that will pay off in her classroom.

Linda Uselmann is heading to the White House. She’s seen it before but now for the first time she’ll get to see the inside. “I just want to be able to go look in every nook and cranny but I know they won’t let me,” Linda beamed.

But she will get to be part of a private tour. In her group, just thirty teachers. What she really hopes to see is, “The portrait of George Washington Dolly Madison saved form the fire in 1812 when the British came to burn down our capitol. Oh my goodness! I call that the second war for independence.”

The institute holds two sessions. Linda’s runs from July 22nd to the 26th. She was selected from a competitive pool of candidates and had the recommendation of her school administrator. Even after twelve years, Uselmann is excited about teaching history at Webb City high school. She said being selected for the White House History Teachers Institute is an honor and she’s eager to learn. She said, “It increases my depth of knowledge that I, just getting immersed into history is something I love to do. Yeah,” she said with a big smile.

They’ll visit other historic sites like the Supreme Court, Library of Congress and State Department. But, how the White House helps preserve living history is a big focus. Uselmann thinks about Abigail Adams. “She really wasn’t a fan of the White House. I’m sure she would be now. She hung her laundry in the front room. I think that’s fascintating. I want to learn those stories about the different inhabitants, what they did,” Linda explained.

The institute has workshops giving teachers a chance to collaborate , get resources and learn new strategies to reach today’s students.

Linda said, “There’s so many things to distract them. That call for their attention. We have to be fresh. Have to be looking for new ideas, new ways of looking at things but still teaching the same concepts of our history. If we don’t know our history we’re a nation without a purpose.”

Linda looks forward to seeing where history is made but would also like a glimpse of the President and first lady. Unfortunately, the Oval Office isn’t on the tour.

The White House Historical Association hosts the institute. Click here for a link to some of its classroom projects and tools.

To learn more about the White House Historical Association, please visit www.whitehousehistory.org.

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