Smyrna teacher goes beyond the textbook

    Michael Feldman, a Smyrna High School teacher, got an inside look at how Congress works last week.

    It’s one thing to teach kids how a bill becomes a law on Capitol Hill.
    It’s another thing altogether to witness the process from the inside, and to be able to pass that insight onto your students.
    Michael Feldman, a Smyrna High School teacher, got such an inside look at how Congress works last week. He was one of 24 educators in the nation who got to take part in this year’s House of Representative’s ‘House Fellows Program’ in Washington D.C.

    Smyrna High School teacher Michael Feldman represented the First State at this year's House of Representative's 'House Fellows Program' in Washington D.C.
    Smyrna High School teacher Michael Feldman represented the First State at this year's House of Representative's 'House Fellows Program' in Washington D.C.

    The program, established by the Office of the Historian in 2006, is designed to help American history and government educators expand their knowledge and understanding of the “People’s House”.

    During the five-day program, Feldman toured the halls of Capitol Hill and attended hearings focused on administrative procedures in the Library of Congress. He was also given the chance to visit with a variety of political leaders, such as House Republican leader John Boehner and Congressman John Lewis of Georgia.

    After 11 years teaching social studies and government at Smyrna School, this registered Republican found it “a refreshing experience” to see for himself the process he teaches about in the classroom.

    “Now when I teach how a bill becomes a law, I’m going to be thinking of the hallways we walked through or the committee rooms we were in or the certain faces that I saw,” Feldman said, “and that’s going to enrich what I teach so much more than the paragraph from the textbook”

    Feldman was selected from a pool of sixty applicants for this summer’s House Fellow Program.

    He says he’d encourage his fellow teachers to apply: “If you don’t get to do this, you’re missing out on a tremendous opportunity”

    The Office of the Historian hosts the ‘House Fellows’ program in Washington D.C. each summer, particularly during weeks when the House of Representatives is voting on key bills.

    Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

    It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.