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Greg Yarnall

Educator

Teacher, Academy of St. Elizabeth in Convent Station, NJ

Greg Yarnall teaches at Academy of St. Elizabeth in Convent Station, NJ. He’s been teaching for 25 years and is currently teaching AP Government and Politics; AP U.S. History; World History; and Freedom, Power, and Political Crises.

He attended a BRI seminar on immigration about a year and a half ago. His favorite part of that seminar was “how well the instructor was able to put our current situation in the context of overall trends in American history.” In addition, he says, “The seminar was an excellent example of just what the Bill of Rights Institute excels at which is marrying the primary sources of the past to the current issues of today (and the pressing questions of tomorrow).”

His favorite time-period of history is American in the 1920s, as it is a fascinating exercise to see what has changed. Speaking of fascinating exercises, one of his favorite assignments to do with students is to hand them a photograph or an image without a caption and ask them to describe what is happening. He says it is a great way to hone their skills in document analysis.

When thinking about the biggest challenge he faces as an educator, he says, “It isn’t that students don’t care. I find that many are immensely concerned with the world we live in. Yet often, students struggle to comprehend the intricacies of issues today from the cacophony of noise that emanates from today’s media.” For motivation to keep teaching, Greg points to correspondence and continued relationships with past students and to Socrates. He says, “{Socrates} wasn’t afraid to be a bit of pain to get the job done. He also knew the absolute nugget that our story is far more about the question than the answer. I think if we would just teach history as questions, instead of a list of answers, far more people would catch its appeal (and importance).”