Helping Students from Immigrant Families Discover an “Emotional Connection” to U.S. History

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Click here for an accessible version of the video.

“I’ve always considered it both a privilege and a duty to teach what it means to be an American citizen to my students,” says Tim Bailey, the 2009 Preserve America National History Teacher of the Year and the subject of a video recently produced for the U.S. Department of Education by the History Channel. 

The video shows Bailey in his classroom at Salt Lake City’s Escalante Elementary School, where he taught U.S. history and civics until the current school year.   Many of his students are first- and second-generation immigrants whose families come from countries in Latin America, Africa, and Asia.  Regardless of their backgrounds, he gets his students engaged and excited about the story of America. 

“Real learning doesn’t take place without an emotional connection. Teaching history can make a real difference in the lives of my students,” says Bailey.  The video captures his class in a lively lesson about the U.S. Civil War.

Now a history teacher at Salt Lake City’s Northwest Middle School, in the same feeder system as Escalante Elementary, Bailey is a published author and Fulbright award winner and has been honored with a number of teaching awards from the state of Utah. 

Secretary Arne Duncan last year congratulated Bailey when he came to Washington to receive the National History Teacher of the Year award.  Read the blog post.  

To view dozens of stories from real teachers, as well as other leaders and celebrities talking about the teachers who inspired them, visit:  To learn how to become involved in the campaign to build America’s next generation of teachers, visit the TEACH website:

 John McGrath
Office of Communications and Outreach