From Caesar to Greek gods, Lancaster teacher brings world history to life

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LANCASTER, S.C. (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) – There’s always that one teacher who changes everything. For students at South Middle School in Lancaster, South Carolina, chances are they’re meeting that teacher in their world history class.

There’s a slower, small-town kind of life in Lancaster.

It’s the type of place where people can escape from the busyness of the city.  The same could be said for the middle school, but on certain days, things become a little more worldly.

“Up and down, everything,” said Mr. C.T. Kirk. “I made sure I put on Caesar.

From Caesar to other Greek gods…

“I’ve been a person in medieval time with the crown.”

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History has a way of coming to life in Mr. Kirk’s sixth grade world history classroom.

“I want them to have that experience, to be able to say hey, I can go to Rome. I can go to Italy because I’ve seen it come to my school first,” said C.T.

He’s been dressing up as people from history all school year. The idea started last October.

“Last year on Halloween, I dressed as the Egyptian pharaoh to give my kids the understanding that African Americans didn’t just come over as slaves, but they’ve been around for a long time,” said C.T.

He has a special way of connecting with his students. He wasn’t always a teacher, in fact, he started teaching at 33 after an eye-opening conversation.

“A third grader told me one time, I want to be a drug dealer. I said, why do you want to be a drug dealer?” remembered C.T. “He says, because that’s the only successful people I know. That’s when I knew I had to come back to the classroom to show kids you can be a successful in a positive way.”

A seat in C.T.’s classroom means kids have the chance to see and experience the world. The lessons may be from history, but it’s about showing them their future too.

“My first graduating class is going to be next year and out of 500 kids, all of them are still in school,” said C.T.

Yes, the costumes are fun and not always historically accurate. (C.T. loves his Converses.) But, the biggest takeaway from history class is the most important lesson of all. One everyone could learn.

“You’ve got to teach kids like you love them, you’ve got to teach them like you see their potential and where they’re going in life.”

C.T. pays for all of his own costumes out of the bonus he gets for perfect attendance in the school year. He said it’s expensive but worth it.

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