I had a day today that reinforces why I teach. To give you a little perspective: I am teaching about the Byzantine Empire and the Byzantine culture (including art, architecture and religion).
The first question came from a student in 2nd period: "Mrs. Virginia World History Teacher? Why do we know history is history?" I responded by telling him that it was a great question and then I opened it up to the class. His classmates responded with a few "okay" answers but a classmate hit it: "The more you see it in a primary document, the more it is true!". YES #1!
The second question came out of that same class. Another student asked that ubiquitous, "Why do we need to study history?" I told him that a society is doomed to repeat past mistakes if they don't learn from the past. I posed the following scenario to the class, "A family member's church (and this is a true story) burned all things that had nothing to do with living a worshipful Christian life. Why would this bother me a historian?" Some students gave okay answers, "Burning books is not a good idea." or "That is weird." Then another students said, "That is what the Nazi's did!" And I said that is exactly what I thought! YES #2!
The third moment came in 3rd period and shed some light on what Mrs. Virginia World History Teacher was like in school. I gave two examples of how I felt I righted a wrong. I think the students, for the most part, enjoy hearing that I too am a human. YES #3!
The fourth moment came in 4th period when we a student realized that the Hagia Sophia (Greek Orthodox Church in Constantinople) looked like Jabba the Hut's Palace. We compared the pictures and sure enough...the Hagia Sophia may have served as model for it- click here to see more. YES #4!
The fifth moment came at the end of 6th period, after we had discussed the Great Schism. He wanted to know how new religions come about. He also wanted to know how people know that their religion is right. I told him that those are great philosophical questions and some people wrestle with those questions for their entire life. I told him to keep up those big thoughts. YES #5!
What about your YES! days?!