Newly qualified teacher of History, Tilly Reed, writes her first blog reflecting on Remembrance Day at Leeds West Academy.
November 2018 marks 100 years since the end of World War One. We are living through an important shift, where a historic event leaves living memory and passes into history. As a history teacher, it is a great responsibility and privilege to teach the next generation about the experiences of the past. My job is to ensure that history is always remembered, including the memories of the men, women, and children who lived and died during World War One.
The word “remembrance” comes from 1919, only one year after WW1 ended. In these years directly after the war, families and communities who were shattered by war came together to create cenotaphs, statues, and memorial services as a remembrance symbol for their lost family and friends. As they stood in a moment of silence, they remembered people who had lived by their side.
What does it mean to remember an event that you didn’t live through? In 2018 myself and the students alike are not “remembering” the experiences of WW1, we are learning from the experiences of those who are no longer with us. As a history teacher I aim to give students a deep and empathetic view of WW1, which they can carry into their futures.
Leeds West Academy has commemorated the end of WW1 in many special ways. It was wonderful to stand alongside staff, students, and parents on Remembrance Day at Bramley Park. A huge well done to all those who attended and laid a wreath on behalf of the school. Many students in Year 10 have just begun studying WW1, and have used letters, photographs, poetry, and film to enhance their understanding of WW1. The canteen was decorated in yellow poppies, in remembrance of all the ‘Canary Girls’ who worked in local munitions factories. Over the remembrance period, I encourage all students to watch out for anything in the media about WW1.
The history department at LWA would love to see any family letters or photographs from WW1 which we could discuss in lessons. Our students have been a credit to themselves in their mature approach to remembrance. It has been wonderful to see them immersed in this historic occasion.