"To understand history, you must grasp how your everyday view of the world developed, how it was created by the reality of the people who lived before you. It took 1000 years to evolve the modern way of looking at things, and to really understand where you are today, you must take yourself back to the year 1000 and then move forward through the entire millennium experientially, as though you actually lived through the whole period yourself in a single lifetime." (Redfield, 1994) I have chosen to become a history professor to open the minds of college students who have despised history, not because of the contents of what they are taught, but because of the way that they were taught. With an existentialist point of view on education, my teachings will be based on how individuals influences and reacted to certain events in history, not the events themselves.
In order to fully explain why I agree with the existentialist philosophy, I should point out why I feel this will help my ability to teach my students. Existentialists rely on self-reflection as a major tool. I can't think of a better way to show a student what happened throughout history than by asking how he or she would react in that time period. Imagine being a journalist trying to capture the feeling of a nation on November 23, 1963, the day after President John F. Kennedy was shot. Take your imagination further to capture the torn emotions felt by Mary Todd Lincoln, President Abraham Lincoln"s wife, who's half-brother Ben Hardin Helm was killed as a Confederate General in the Civil War (Find A Grave, Retrieved 2002). By throwing yourself into a situation and expressing those emotions you feel about that situation, your reactions will bring about a deeper meaning; one not so easily tossed aside after an exam is taken or the course is completed. .
Existentialists also believe that a classroom should be an open forum for discussion.