Introducing Nicole Woulfe, the 2018 New Hampshire History Teacher of the Year

Nicole Woulfe

New Hampshire History Teacher of the Year

Nicole Woulfe, Sanborn Regional Middle School, Newton, New HampshireSince 2004, 749 exemplary American history teachers from elementary, middle, and high schools in all fifty states, Department of Defense schools, Washington DC, and US territories have been named State History Teacher of the Year. The National History Teacher of the Year is named in the fall. The 2018 State History Teachers of the Year were asked informal questions by the Gilder Lehrman Institute. 

Do you have a favorite/funny moment from teaching?

During one of my first years teaching 6th grade US History, I wrote July 4, 1776, on the whiteboard and asked students why the date was an important one in our history. Sam quickly raised his hand and couldn’t wait for me to call on him, he was so excited to answer: “It was the day you were born!” I gave him a high five and said, “Exactly!” Another student raised their hand and said, “Ms. Woulfe, I’m pretty sure that is Independence Day, when we celebrate the signing of the Declaration of Independence.” I paused for a minute, tapping my chin, deep in thought before saying, “Yes, that is another reason why July 4, 1776, was important. Let’s discuss that document instead of my birthday.” When Sam visited me before graduating high school he made sure to wish me an early birthday because July 4th was just around the corner!

Tell us one fun historical fact about the town you live in or grew up in. 

The treaty that ended the Russo-Japanese War was signed in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, in 1905 and earned Teddy Roosevelt the Nobel Peace Prize in 1906. As I often say, don’t take NH for granite!

What was the last great history book you read?

Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann 

What is your favorite historical site or museum?

My favorite historical museum is Strawbery Banke in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. This museum was a magical place for me as a child because it tells the history of a neighborhood from colonialization to the 1950s, just before urban renewal in the city. 

If you could travel back in time and meet any historical figure, who would it be and why?

I would love to travel back in time and meet Queen Victoria. It would be lovely to have tea with her and discuss her life and the choices she made and have her analyze the impact of her choices.

What is your favorite historical film or series?

I love Band of Brothers and The Pacific, both HBO mini-series.

Do your students have a favorite historical topic or era?

My students last year loved learning about the 1920s because I transformed my classroom into a movie theater when we studied silent films. They also enjoy learning about WWII and the Gilded Age.

What advice would you give to young people, in high school or college, who may be considering a career in education but are unsure?

Sometimes the seeds we plant are not visible until years later. Teaching is a job where you have the ability to change lives. You are helping students transform into the best versions of themselves. No other job gets to do that.

Click here to nominate a teacher for the 2019 state and national awards.