Oxford High Teacher National Leader in Holocaust Education
Oxford, Mississippi (August 9, 2019) — Oxford High School teacher, Laura Boughton, spent the summer as a facilitator for the Belfer National Conference for Educators at the United States Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C. Boughton was one of eight facilitators from across the country chosen to facilitate the conference’s education sessions in July.
The conference is designed to introduce English language arts teachers and social studies teachers introduces participants to the Museum’s pedagogical approach to teaching about the Holocaust.
In 2006, Boughton was accepted into the Museum Teacher Fellowship, a national corps of skilled educators who help ensure the quality of Holocaust education in secondary schools. Each year, the Museum selects up to 20 educators who show evidence of extensive knowledge of Holocaust history, successful teaching experience, and participation in community and professional organizations. “My work with them has completely changed the way I teach,” Boughton said. Since her fellowship, Boughton has facilitated yearly workshops and worked with other teachers of the Holocaust from around the country.
Boughton (pictured left) stands with Holocost survivor Fanny Aizenburg (pictured center).
Boughton uses the personal story of a Holocaust survivor as motivation in her classroom at Oxford High. “I met Fanny Aizenburg in 2008 when she spoke at a workshop we facilitated here in Oxford. The photo is taken in the museum in about 2015. I love the picture because you can see the words from a large wall in the museum — I am your witness (from the book of Isaiah).”
Boughton keeps a picture of Fanny on the board in her classroom as a reminder that “I teach the Holocaust because I want my students to remember individuals and continue to tell their story. It helps translate statistics to people and bring about the personal connections that are crucial to engaging the students with history. I want them to realize that this really happened to people, involving real, ordinary people who made choices to murder, to be cooperative, to be complicit, to rescue, to resist, and to survive.”
Boughton says her work with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum has given her a lot of confidence in “helping my students grapple with complicated history. I want my students to know that it is not always about the answers, sometimes asking tough questions can inspire critical thinking and personal growth.”