As I've been contemplating 2012, I keep thinking of Dickens' line, now sullied by cliche, "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness... it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness."
It is, without a doubt in my mind, the greatest time in history to be a teacher. Never before have educators had available such an extraordinary wealth of resources with which to fashion learning experiences. I often tell the story, in my speaking, of my own seventh-grade U.S. History class, where we were given two resources for the year: a textbook and a primary source reader. The reader contained twenty documents, from the Mayflower Compact to the Letter from a Birmingham Jail, and they were the only documents that we read all year. Today, a history teacher can choose from the millions of documents archived online by thousands of libraries and archives around the world, including not just texts but images, audio recordings, film clips, and ephemera.