The National Teachmeet for history teachers.
Manchester, March 26th 2022
I felt very privileged and humbled to be asked to be a keynote speaker alongside historian Helen Carr who gave her own keynote speech on ‘What is History?’, speaking to history teachers at the National History Teach Meet event in Manchester on March 26th 2022.
I think that the universe had conspired to make sure that I was speaking there because two days before, when I paid a visit to Manchester Metropolitan University to meet with my supervisors, we had all decided that my PhD would be changed to research, and create resources and teaching methods, courses and programmes for schools and for the public, in order to teach disability history from antiquity to modern-day.
It was pertinent, therefore, that my first opportunity to talk in person after the pandemic was to a room full of History teachers both in the room, and online, sharing my thoughts on how we can support teachers to bring disability history into the national curriculum. It was controversial of me to also bring up the topic that disabled teachers are rarely employed in our schools. This means that schools do not reflect the communities in which they preside. Neither do students who do not have disabled family members or friends, the opportunity to learn from disabled people, in order to understand what it might be like to live with a disability. This is so important for students, (and school staff – did I type that?!) to have a greater understanding of disability as it helps dispel ignorance, ableism, discrimination, bullying, changes attitudes towards disability, and gives schools, and their staff and students another perspective from which to view what it means to be human. Is that not what history is about?
I hope that through my research, my PhD, and being a secondary school teacher myself, albeit a currently unemployed disabled teacher (mainly, I think because schools see disabled teachers as liabilities, and a problem to have in schools), that I will be able to help to contribute in transforming the history curriculum and public access to disability history, creating schemes of work, teaching resources and courses, online courses, and (perhaps even TV programmes), in the hope that I can help change perceptions of disability in the modern-day, using the past as a barometer.
If any colleagues have a passion to help change attitudes positively toward disability and would like to contribute to a project, please do get in touch.
Disability and the Tudors: Hidden In Plain Sight
Here is the whole recording of the live event. My talk starts at approximately 2:33.53.
Thank you to the whole Teach Meet History team for allowing me to take part in your wonderful event.