Zachary Gaines, a fresh face teaching old history


Photo by Cameron Ulmer

Zachary Gaines teaches his students in class.

History is one of those subjects in school that is always a point of contention. Some people love it, some people hate it. But what happens when you take AP World History, one of the hardest history classes offered, remove its main teacher, and introduce a brand new long-term sub with a passion for the subject? That’s where Zachary Gaines comes in.
Gaines was the new long-term sub for Jacquelyn Ode who was out on maternity leave and has just recently returned. Gaines has had the opportunity to take charge of all of her classes and students, and it is certainly something he was passionate about.
Coming from Truman State with an undergrad and bachelor’s degree in history and education, Gaines went on to subbing around the St. Louis area at various schools. For those wondering why he would want to be a teacher, the answer is he didn’t always.
“Ever since I was a kid, I’ve always loved stories and getting to tell stories and make sense of those stories. Eventually, that love of analyzing and breaking down information led me to history, where all these stories are being told of our past, but none of it makes sense. I want to make sense of those stories, and I want to help kids do the same,” Gaines said.
For Gaines, it’s all about helping students understand the material and have their own spin on it, and that comes from a deep love for the material, and a want to know students on a personal level.
“If I can reach a student on an individual level, and help them see and understand history in their own way, then that’s when I know I’m doing my job well. In my eyes, social studies is a way to being a good citizen, because if you understand the world and society, how things operate and how things have operated in the past, the more prepared you are for the real world,” Gaines said.
Gaines’s main mission is to make himself the most marketable candidate for teaching history, and he does that by bringing his own passion and unique ways of reaching students and offering fresh perspectives of the material.
As one of his many new students, I can attest to how he tries his hardest to make sure every student has a voice. He also lets us know that all of history is subjective, and it’s up to you to find your own viewpoint. I look forward to what he does next.