I sometimes wonder if my family's background had some unknown impact on my interest in history. I grew up in a bilingual household with German immigrant parents. My father followed his aunt and uncle to America to find work. Family get-togethers were small because the rest of our family remained in Germany. My father worked two jobs to improve our lives and put my brother and me through school. He will always be the most respected man I have known and the ultimate role model. I hope you enjoy my "Bio-Line", sharing snippets of my life.
My great uncle and aunt, Willi and Frieda, emigrated to the United States in 1930 and 1931 respectively. Willi would have regular correspondence with my father before and after World War II encouraging him to join them. In a recently translated letter of Willi's from 1933 he predicted that Hitler would start a war. My great uncle was very insightful.
My parents, Max and Elizabeth, and older brother, Klaus, emigrated to Ohio in 1951. I was born a year later.
In the '50's and '60's I grew up in the village of Mogadore, Ohio, named for a Moroccan trading port by an early nineteenth century sailor. .
I had hoped to become a history teacher. Noting the overabundance of history teachers, one of my high school teachers steered me into elementary education. It was some of the best advice I have ever received. Thanks, Jerry!
In 1974 I graduated with a bachelors degree in elementary education from the University of Akron. By 1981 I had earned my masters degree.
Especially during the first half of my teaching career, I had a variety of summer jobs---machine shop laborer, camp counselor in Maine, radio disc jockey/announcer and umpire. In later years I spent summers writing resource books for teachers. Subjects for those books included social studies/history, health and the integration of history into mathematical problem solving.
In 1985 I was one of 11,000 teachers nationwide who applied to become NASA's "Teacher in Space". The Challenger disaster on the morning of January 28, 1986 was one of the few times in my life where I felt gut punched when no one had even touched me..
In the mid-90's I left the self-contained elementary classroom behind and began teaching in the secondary environment of a grade 7-8 middle school. I taught 7th grade World History and 8th grade American History. It didn't take me long to realize a middle school teacher combined the pedagogical tools of an elementary teacher with the passion for their subject of a high school teacher.
In 2002 I began sharing some of what I had learned in three decades of teaching by writing regular columns for the online magazine, Educationworld.com.
In 2012 I retired after 38 years as a classroom teacher. We celebrated the wedding of our eldest daughter.
Now, with both daughters out on their own, my wife and I enjoy antiquing, home projects, travel and the pleasure of Cooper's company.