North Whidbey Middle School students can expect a little more worldliness in their world history class this year.
Teacher Don Jenkins will bring lessons and experiences he gained in a trip to South Korea as a World History Digital Education Fellow to his Oak Harbor classroom this coming school year.
In July, he and 29 other teachers from across the country who were selected for the program traveled to areas such as the demilitarization zone dividing North and South Korea and performed research about the Korean War and its impacts.
Learning more about “The Forgotten War” is what peaked Jenkins’ interest in the program in the first place.
“A lot of people don’t realize how important it is,” he said of the 1950s conflict.
As part of the program, Jenkins transcribed interviews with Korean War veterans for the Korean War Legacy Foundation.
He hopes to continue to record interviews for the project. Veterans from this conflict who are willing to share their stories can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Jenkins said he was struck when a reporter from Seoul told him that 10 million families had been separated after the war when the peninsula was divided into North and South Korea.
Many of these families remain separated, he said.
He also wants to focus on current events and how the country transformed itself from being impoverished after the war to becoming one of the global economic powers. He wants to share what he’s learned as current events come up related to the region.
Jenkins became a history teacher because of his belief in the power of learning other people’s stories.
“I want students to have a global perspective,” he said, “and kind of widen what they know.”