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Mr. James Stoneking--History Teacher

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I don’t really know why I rubbed the stone against my cheek, except that it was supposed to bring good luck for the next four years. The first day of freshman year I sat in the back of Mr. Stoneking’s history class as he passed the coprolite rock around the room—fossilized dinosaur excrement, as I later found out. He told us we looked like glazed hams and laughed as we jumped when the bell rang.

That was my introduction to the man that would be “directing the historical education” I would require to graduate. Quickly I learned that he wasn’t a teacher, he didn’t teach anything. He was a self proclaimed sophist, pushing his students reluctantly through battles and deaths and peasant uprisings with questions and well-timed eyebrow movements. In daily lectures, he told the stories of history that seemed to have been forgotten by our textbooks, fascinating accounts of the average person’s view of historical events and the impact this had on today’s society. Mr. Stoneking chortled with joy when we started studying the samurai because it meant he could bring in his ancient sword collection to show, not that he needed a reason to show us artifacts, his whole room overflowed with flags and fossils and newspaper articles in frames. Then he started filling the hallway.

Outside of class, he lent me books on Teddy Roosevelt and Medieval food and showed me old magazine advertisements that he found for two dollars at a yard sale. Through the artifacts he displays and the enthusiasm with which he explains their origins, I grew more and more interested in the study of history. In class, he mentioned current events and popular music to get his point across, even using other teachers as examples of the leaders of different sides in battles. History has never been more alive than in Mr. Stoneking’s classroom.

I’ve learned something from Mr. Stoneking that can’t be taught; a passion for the past. He inspired me to further my historical studies and I now want to pursue a teaching career. I can only hope that students everywhere could be lucky enough to have an educator of the same caliber.





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dude 23 said...
Dec. 10, 2013 at 8:50 pm
I think Mr. Stoneking is an awesome teacher. He teaches everything that is going to be on his tests. Even though Mr. Stoneking is an awesome teacher, you will have to study a LOT for his tests! P.S. Love the star wars music when he gives out the tests
 
milenaSalas said...
Feb. 13, 2011 at 1:11 pm
I have Mr. Stoneking this year and he is the best teacher I've ever had! He keeps his class interesting I can never imagine falling asleep in there. Every day I step foot in his class I'm ready to take an adventure,his enthusiasm towards history makes everything come to life and the artifact.. well they're just the sprinkles to the adventure.. his class is fantastic. 
 
BlargieBlarg replied...
Nov. 15, 2011 at 8:15 am

I Agree!

 

 
gymdog506 said...
Nov. 10, 2010 at 9:16 pm
I completely agree. I was never a fan of history until I got to ARGS and had Mr. Stoneking. He has a real gift with bringing the past with him into his classroom. :) I admit, I was terrified of him my first day of freshman year when he raised his eyebrows at me.
 
Music2013 said...
Sept. 23, 2009 at 8:43 pm
I agree with everything Ariel stated! I now have Mr. Stoneking and he is soo awesome! I actually enjoy his class, which is rare for me in a history class!
 
composer replied...
Sept. 25, 2009 at 5:53 am
yea...i always loved stoneking's demeanor... restrained yet badass... like he would play the emperors march (from starwars) before a test and would know even though the test was really hard we would perservere because we had courage, good study material (he records his notes on audio), and the force on our side!!!!!
 
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