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Texas Teacher Takes Her Students On A Road Trip Through U.S. History — Remotely


One high school teacher found a way to teach differently in the pandemic. Cathy Cluck is an AP U.S. history teacher in Austin, Texas. Her school started off the year remotely so she asked herself...

CATHY CLUCK: What can I do now that I wouldn't be able to do in a normal year? And I just kind of had this idea that I teach American history, and what if I went to the places where American history happened?


So she did. Cluck went on a 15-day road trip around America's historical sites, and she took her students with her virtually.

CLUCK: If it just makes them want to log on because they're stuck on Zoom all day and, you know, if that gives them a reason to think oh, where's my teacher today? Maybe it'll be like a "Where's Waldo."

MARTIN: She streamed her first day of class from Williamsburg, Va. She documented the trip on YouTube, including this show and tell with a piece of history used for public punishment.

CLUCK: So I'm at the stocks. Up there, you put your head through and your arms through, but I'm not allowed to do it because of the COVID.

INSKEEP: Oh, that's too bad. The teacher then headed north, stopping in Jamestown, in Yorktown, Va., Washington, D.C., and then up through Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Julia Franco is one of Cluck's students at Westlake High School.

JULIA FRANCO: I just love it. I just love it. It's - I don't know how to explain it. It just makes me more excited to learn, you know. And it's also having the visual of, you know, where the first slaves came to America, where, you know, all of these different places. I'm like, oh, I'm reading it in a textbook but, oh, I've also seen it, like virtually. But I've seen it.

MARTIN: Cluck is back in her Austin classroom now that the school is slowly reintroducing in-person learning but maybe not for long.

CLUCK: If we end up going remote again, I would love to do a trip through the South, spend some more time on civil rights things. So if I get the opportunity to do it again, I would certainly love to.

MARTIN: And while having to go all virtual again would be disappointing, sounds like her students would love the second road trip, too. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Emily Alfin Johnson is a producer for NPR One.
Lilly Quiroz (she/her/ella) is a production assistant for Morning Edition and Up First. She pitches and produces interviews for Morning Edition, and occasionally goes to the dark side to produce the podcast Up First on the overnights.