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Rock Canyon High School's Student Newspaper

the Rock Online

Rock Canyon High School's Student Newspaper

the Rock Online

Rock Canyon High School's Student Newspaper

the Rock Online

FRIDAY FACULTY FEATURE: Jump Back into the Past with Wes Chapman

An insight into social studies teacher Wes Chapman and his passion for history.
Wes+Chapman+sits+in+his+classrooms+lounge+chair+while+reading+a+history+novel+during+Access+Nov.+14.+Students+entered+his+classroom+during+Access+to+discuss+class+material+and+gain+advice+on+how+to+increase+their+understanding+in+lesson+content.+Chapman+often+participates+in+discussions+with+his+students+in+order+to+improve+their+historical-analysis+skills+and+prepare+them+properly+for+upcoming+AP+tests.+The+best+parts+of+being+teachers+are+watching+those+students+in+your+AP+class%2C+when+you+get+the+results+back+of+how+they+did+and+youre+like+%E2%80%98yes%21%E2%80%99+You+see+that+one+students+score%2C+and+at+with+the+beginning+of+the+year%2C+they+were+probably+a+three%2C+and+at+the+end+of+the+year%2C+theyre+getting+a+five+on+the+AP+exam%2C+Chapman+said.
media by Em Carls
Wes Chapman sits in his classroom’s lounge chair while reading a history novel during Access Nov. 14. Students entered his classroom during Access to discuss class material and gain advice on how to increase their understanding in lesson content. Chapman often participates in discussions with his students in order to improve their historical-analysis skills and prepare them properly for upcoming AP tests. “The best parts of being teachers are watching those students in your AP class, when you get the results back of how they did and you’re like ‘yes!’ You see that one student’s score, and at with the beginning of the year, they were probably a three, and at the end of the year, they’re getting a five on the AP exam,” Chapman said.

Social studies: a subject consisting of the analysis of historical occurrences and how they shaped the social and cultural traditions that developed into today’s modern practices.

It’s a complex matter with numerous branches of situations–and it’s the job of social studies teacher Wes Chapman to teach it. 

Chapman has been a teacher for 19 years and has worked at Rock Canyon High School for six.

He teaches the histories, specifically US History, AP World History and AP European History. His love for the topics contributes largely to the educational setting he creates. 

“I think first it starts with understanding that I just love history,” Chapman said. “And so, to be able to teach it, for me, it’s an opportunity to continue to learn it. It gives me some excitement, which only really the nerds out there are going to understand. Like the feeling of ‘Oh, I figured this puzzle out a little bit more.’ It’s when you find that one jigsaw piece among one thousand, then you get it to fit. For me, that’s what teaching history does. It continues to create a more clear image of the world and of the past.” 

The enthusiasm he has for history makes for an intriguing and entertaining learning environment. 

“It’s my way of trying to bring my passion into the classroom, and to kind of show where passion and lifestyle intersect. It’s very hard to get kids excited unless they’re already excited about what we do.”

— Wes Chapman

When it comes to teaching his students class content, Chapman believes that engaging and participating in conversations regarding material being studied proves beneficial. Students are constantly tested to see if they truly understand the content in class. 

“I think discussion is the best way to learn,” Chapman said. “In discussion, you have to pose a point, you have to pose a claim, and that claim has to come from reading that has been done, and in doing so, then they have to kind of navigate how well they actually know the material in order to make that claim.” 

He also participates in reviewing content along with his students, using the same resources they do. 

“I tried to change how I teach every year. For instance, my AP textbooks. I read them every single year. Over and over and over again and every single year I glean something new. I take something different away from it,” Chapman said. 

Through conversation and interaction, he is able to present historical teachings in a much more social way, helping to make sure his students gain a more complex understanding of the material. 

As for his classroom, Chapman decorates his walls with something special: pictures of iconic historical monuments and locations across the globe. Photos of the Eiffel Tower, St. Peter’s Basilica, the Florence Duomo and so much more are hung up for everyone to see. He also owns a collection of maps of the world from different time periods. 

“I guess it’s my way of trying to bring my passion into the classroom, and to kind of show where passion and lifestyle intersect. Being a teacher of the social sciences, it’s very hard to get kids excited unless they’re already excited about what we do,” Chapman said. “So, you know, when kids come into my classroom, I want them to sit. If they are zoning out, then they’re zoning out looking at pictures, and maybe it starts a story or maybe it starts just a discussion to talking about travel.”

The wall decor also reflects Chapman’s love of exploring the world, and he puts in the effort to extend similar experiences to his students. 

“I tried last year, successfully taking 32 students to Central Europe. Next fall, we are going to go to Spain and Portugal as a way to try to get hands-on experience with the things that are taught in my class,” Chapman said. 

Out of all the places he’s been to so far, Chapman’s favorite is Italy. For future travels, he would like to visit Japan. 

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