Editor’s note: This feature is part of the “Through Airmen’s Eyes” series. These stories focus on individual Airmen, highlighting their Air Force story.
SOUTHWEST ASIA — Who was Archduke Franz Ferdinand? What year was the ice cream cone created? Who was the first person to fly around the world? Questions such as these might bring back memories of sitting at a rickety desk as some history teacher spouts off endless lists of names and dates to be memorized in preparation for an end-of-year exam. Chances are, however, most people can name at least one history teacher who breaks the stereotype.
Master Sgt. Jason Paseur, currently deployed in Southwest Asia as the 386th Air Expeditionary Wing historian, is always on the hunt for creative lessons for the classroom where he teaches as a civilian. Paseur is a reservist deployed from the 94th Airlift Wing out of Dobbins Air Reserve Base, Georgia.
“I really wanted to teach history because I wanted to make it interesting,” Paseur said. “My goal is to make history tangible.”
Known as Mr. Paseur to his students at Trion High School in northwest Georgia, Paseur uses personal experience to liven up his lessons. In the past, this has included bringing an antique loom into his classroom, where he uses it during lessons on the Industrial Revolution. He also takes his classes on occasional field trips around the region that coincide with the curriculum.
This works well with teaching U.S. history, but becomes a bit more complicated with world history.
“I’ve never been out of the United States until now, so this is going to help me to be able to teach U.S. history as well as world history next year,” Paseur said. “This is going to really broaden my experiences to share in the classroom.”
As a first-time deployer, he said he would like to explore the region to learn more about its culture. Whether it’s shopping at local souks or visiting museums, Paseur hopes to take this experience back to the classroom.
“Where I live in northwest Georgia, a lot of people grew up camping with their parents,” Paseur said. “You kind of equate camping with skills that are passed down. It’s interesting that the culture here promotes camping as (a) way of not forgetting their past. Historically there were Bedouin tribes camping and going to various areas, so if I can somehow tie that into what my students do, they may remember what the term ‘Bedouin’ means.”
The same is also true at a more local level. His students are no strangers to seeing Operation Inherent Resolve on social media. In fact, several of his students follow the 386th AEW’s Facebook page to see what he’s doing. Being an active member of OIR will be beneficial in teaching U.S. history, Paseur said.
“When I incorporate lessons in the classroom, I try to use experiences and descriptions to teach my students,” Paseur said. “Of course with today’s technology you can almost bring them to certain places.”
The knowledge and experience Paseur plans to share with his students won’t fit on flashcards. Instead, students will hear his stories and will have a better understanding of the world around them. They might sit up a bit straighter at their desks, listen a bit more attentively and ask more engaging questions. More importantly, they’ll be on the path to becoming more informed citizens, ready not only for their end-of-course exam but also for life outside the classroom walls.