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Meet Our Fellows

William McGeehan

Alexander Adaire School

2022 Spring Enrollment: Educating for American Democracy

I’ve been teaching for the district for 16 years, all at the same school in the Fishtown area of Philadelphia. For the first eight I taught ELA and Social Studies, but now I teach Social Studies and Science. I am committed to the goal of a sustainable society, and one of my chief aims as an educator is to help my students see environmental stewardship as a duty towards their nation, their community, and themselves.

I joined the seminar on Educating for American Democracy, led by Dr. Rogers Smith, in part because our political system is in a moment of crisis. Some of America’s defining values—respect for the rule of law, the desire for free and fair elections, a spirit of cooperation between parties for the sake of national well-being—are under threat. I hoped I would learn how to help my students develop an awareness of the political values that provided stability and prosperity in our past, without obscuring the many ways in which our nation has fallen short of its ideals. I believe it is vitally important that teachers have conversations with their kids about what it means to be an American, and this seminar, with its rich selection of primary source materials, its many texts selected for use in the classroom, and Dr. Smith’s modeling of how to pose questions about the American past, has helped me to achieve this goal.

This was my second seminar with TIP, and I am already enrolled for a third. I love the opportunity to delve deeply into a research topic and then turn that research into a usable curriculum. TIP keeps my curiosity engaged and lifts the quality of my instruction.