Born and raised in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Bobby Housch graduated from Taylor University (Indiana) with a degree in history, after which he managed bookstores for Eastern National Park and Monument Association, a nonprofit partner with the National Park Service.
After moving to Gettysburg, Bobby decided to go into teaching. He received his Masters in History and a teaching certification from Shippensburg University. In 2003 Bobby became a Licensed Battlefield Guide and currently teaches history to 8th graders at Emory H. Markle Intermediate School.
A couple of years ago Bobby and his sons Matt and Dan, started the information site, Gettysburg Daily. After working in the parks for Eastern National, and as a Licensed Battlefield Guide, Bobby realized there were more than a few people who wanted information on the battlefield and what was happening there, especially with the constant changes it has recently experienced. Bobby’s website has now been seen by people in 148 countries, and is now averaging over 30,000 visits a month.
Q: What is your teaching philosophy?
BH: In brief, my teaching philosophy is to get students involved in hands on projects as often as possible, for as we all know students remember more from doing something than from listening to someone telling them something. Doing something hands on is not always possible, so I believe in showing students as many visuals as possible.
Q: What challenges do you meet in regard to state standards?
BH: The Pennsylvania State Standards are fairly broad, and we do not yet have a state test. I wish we would have a state test, as other subjects do so that Social Studies would be taken as seriously as are Language Arts (English) and Mathematics.
Q: How do you make history relevant and exciting to your students?
BH: Making history relevant is by frequently showing them that things are happening in the world today because of something that happened in the past (our history). We have to show students that some things have happened before, and how people solved those problems in previous times.
Otherwise making history exciting is mostly be doing as many hands on activities as possible as I shared in my teaching philosophy.
Q: How do you use your local resources for teaching the Civil War or American history?
BH: I am very fortunate to live and teach in the Hanover/Gettysburg area. We have not only the resources on the Gettysburg Battlefield for field trips, but also the resources in Washington, D.C. I have ceased to be surprised that with Gettysburg and Washington (and Philadelphia, Baltimore, historic sites in Virginia) being so close, how many students have not visited them with their families.
Field trips are what make history come alive for students, and we hope the budgets for them do not get cut.
Q: What advice do you have for other teachers?
BH: I believe that being a history teacher is the best job in the world. So enjoy not only teaching with your students, but playing (hands on activities) with your students. They do want to learn, no matter how much they pretend that they don't. Find that balance of running a disciplined classroom while having fun as much as you can.