Jeremy Nickens is making U.S. History exciting for Juniors at LaVergne High School in Rutherford County. Swing dancing lessons to learn about the Roaring 20s, decorating his class like the Depression Era, and dressing up in Civil War era clothing are just some of the things that make Mr. Nickens an Excellent Educator.
"One of the things that I want them to take away from this class is that somebody cared about them. We care about their success.
I teach dual enrollment of U.S. History. I’ve been teaching for twelve years. I was in college, and 9/11 happened. There were a lot of questions about 9/11 and we didn’t have the answers. I found a lot of those answers in history. My favorite author said, 'History is a great story that needs to be told.'
I want them to make that emotional connection, so they feel closer to history. We do a Civil War reenactment, and I want them to be able to see the hardships that they faced, the stresses that Lincoln had. We talk about the roaring twenties, so we do a dance session where they swing dance because that type of entertainment got them through the Depression. We take field trips to places like the Sam Davis home to give back to the community.
Today, what we are going to be doing is talking about the Great Depression. If they can see that, feel that, and make that emotional connection to the subject, they can internalize that and apply it to the their lives."
One of Mr. Nickens' students says, "Throughout his lessons, he makes it connect with real-life situations. He put dirt on his face. He wore everything they had back then. It was fun, it made us laugh and we learned. It’s a great class and honestly I’ll miss it. I hope I get to run into another teacher like him. He’s a really good person. It’s not a job, it’s like he wants to do this and he’s happy to do this every day. He’s happy to see us every day.”
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