Getting to Know Your Teachers: Dr. Lacy

The December teacher for R-Hi’s new Getting to Know Your Teachers Column, is Dr. Lacy! Dr. Lacy teaches AP Human Geography, AP U.S. History, and World History. Many students thought he would have a variety of interesting stories to share and would make for an overall unique interview. He was chosen based on a google form at the bottom of the last installment where students vote on who should be the next teacher; this form can be found at the bottom of this article as well. Big thanks to Dr. Lacy for participating in the following interview!

Teaching-Related Questions

Q: Out of all the classes you teach, which one is your favorite?

A: I like teaching all of them, which is kind of a sad answer, a weak answer. Usually, I like teaching the Freshman classes because Freshman say insane stuff and it’s funny.

Q: What made you want to be a teacher?

A: I didn’t do this on purpose. I was in grad school and I was required to teach in order to get my fellowships. So, I started doing it and that’s when I discovered I was good at it and I enjoyed it.

Q: What is one of the most rewarding things as a teacher?

A: I get to tell fun stories and people like them.

Q: What’s your teaching style? What do you do differently?

A: Well, I came to teaching history from social science. So, when you teach social science you want to do theories and big narratives and then individually banter just examples that fit into that bigger story. So, I know that I’m not the only history teacher that does this, but it’s not common for history teachers to tell a story and not focus so much on people and dates.

Q: What is your favorite lesson that you teach?

A: Goodness, there’s a lot of them I like. I really like explaining why Napoleon was so good at doing what he did, why he was essentially unbeatable. The basic trick he uses is so basic, but then you have to explain all the social, cultural, and political context surrounding around why he was able to do it so well and other countries weren’t, even after they saw him do it.

Personal Questions

Q: What hobbies do you enjoy when you’re not teaching?

A: Well, I’m a parent so I don’t have a lot of actual hobbies. Let’s see, I like reading a lot about history which is, again, a kind of weak answer. Mostly, the stuff I enjoy reading about are military history, alternative history, usually like alternative ancients. I’ve tried alternative World War II history, but it gets boring after a while. Yeah that’s basically it, it’s either basic history or alternative history or it’s anime, I do like anime.

Q: What’s a pet peeve of yours?

A: Irresponsible colleagues. Yeah, I am not very patient with other adults.

Q: If you weren’t a teacher, what career would you like to have?

A: Well when I first went to college, I wanted to be an astronaut who specializes in computer engineering. I do enjoy computer engineering, like the hardware side of it so that could be fun.

Q: In class, you have mentioned that you’ve been to a lot of places; what would you say has been your favorite place?

A: The favorite place I enjoyed going to, just overall, would probably be Northern England because there’s a lot of really random history there that’s not highlighted. Northern England doesn’t spend a lot of time commemorating its history, but it’s really interesting and complex. I enjoyed it more than other places I went to because for practical reasons I can speak English. I did similar things in Poland, but I can’t read Polish, so there’s an extra layer that makes it a little more challenging. So, I think that’s been the most enjoyable place I’ve ever visited.

Q: What is one of the biggest culture shocks you have experienced?

A: Moving to the U.S. for college, I did not grow up in the U.S. so many things didn’t make sense. I mean I literally just watched a lot of American T.V. to try to make sense of it and it turns out that doesn’t always help.

Q: Are there any other stories or anything else you would to share before moving on to the random questions?

A: I mean I’m always happy to throw out stories, but I feel sometimes like I’m a bag of stories. Stuff comes out when I’m reminded of some narrative element. Like last night, I was watching an entire video about the efficacy of double-ended swords, like why people designed these massive swords that could only be used with two hands because you can’t use a shield and that makes you a little more vulnerable. Then there’s an entire branch of medieval history that argues that you use these guys as specialists to go after large blocks of soldiers. If you send some crazy dude with a giant sword at people they tend to not want to stay together and that makes it a little easier to win battles. Anyways, it was a very randomly cool thing to read about this and then I spent way too much time doing that instead of my work.

Random Questions

Random Questions is a new section of the “Getting to Know Your Teachers” articles where students can send in extremely random questions that have nothing to do with teaching. These questions will also be submitted through the Google Form at the bottom.

Q: (Sean Duggan) What’s your opinion about pineapple on pizza?

A: Totally in favor because I lived in Hawaii.

Q: (Ava Greiner) Have you ever had a Lunchable? If so, which ones?

A: Oh I’ve had multiple Lunchables, but I think the Lunchables I’m the most familiar with aren’t sold anymore because they’re less healthy than the current Lunchables. When I was in elementary school Lunchables were high-end lunches and if your family could afford those you were cool. I grew up lower-middle class and in California, the public school lunches were not amazing. One year we had corndogs for like two weeks in a row. Yeah so, Lunchables were like three steps up from that.

Q: (Anonymous) Are you a fan of One Direction? If so, who is your favorite member?

A: I wouldn’t say I’m a huge fan, I love their music, but I grew up with 1990s boy bands so every time I see One Direction recordings I’m always reminded of the 90s guys who I feel more affinity for. I think the only one I know is the one who keeps showing up on the covers of magazines, Harry Styles. Otherwise, I know some guy with a Z. I’m not as familiar with them as I am with the 90s.

Q: (Carlito Inductivo) Do you listen to Taylor Swift? If so, what is your favorite song?

A: My daughter adores Taylor Swift, so yes I indirectly listen to a lot of Taylor Swift. I don’t know that I necessarily have a favorite Taylor Swift song, I like all her stuff, but it all blends together for me. I don’t think she’s speaking to me necessarily, I don’t think I’m her target demographic.

Q: (Anonymous) Would you ever eat green eggs and ham?

A: Not only would I, I’ve actually done that. Yeah, so I looked up what actual green eggs and ham were and it’s based off an actual meal. You could actually make it yourself, it’s pretty cool stuff. I thought it was pretty decent, but I mean I pretty much like European breakfast foods so any European breakfast foods I’m in favor of.

“It’s the most fun class I have and even with the amount of work he [Dr. Lacy] gives, it’s never been overwhelming. He’s one of the nicest teachers I’ve ever had, and there’s no chance you’re bored in his class. He literally makes anything interesting.”

Carlito inductivo

Have another teacher or question in mind for the January interview? Tell us here: Getting to Know Your Teachers