Zachary Wishart graduated from Ball State in during Spring 2019 with a double major in History and Social Studies. Immediately following graduation, he traveled to Vietnam where he taught English at Hoang Le Kha High School as an ETA with the Fulbright program. Currently, Wishart works at Wheaton High School in Silver Spring, Maryland where he teaches History and Government.
What did you study while you were at Ball State?
What is your career now?
I am a Social Studies teacher at Wheaton High School in Silver Spring, Maryland. I teach U.S. History and Government.
What does a typical week in your position look like?
A typical week for me looks fairly similar to what one would expect from a high school teacher, class during the day and grading/lesson planning at night. A typical school day 9am- 3pm (this will change unfortunately once we revert to in-person learning). In addition to this, I am the freshman class sponsor which includes weekly meetings with the SGA and event planning.
What are the most valuable skills you learned as a History major?
I believe the most valuable skills I learned as a student of history were how to think critically, both in academic spheres as well as personal life, and how to write professionally.
The latter has especially given me an edge when applying for jobs, scholarships, and grants.
How are the skills you learned as a History student relevant to your career and life today?
The skills I learned as a history student are incredibly relevant to my career and life. Thanks to them I was able to earn a Fulbright grant to teach in Vietnam which continues to be the single most influential event of my entire life. Additionally, as a Social Studies teacher, I work daily to help my students learn the same skills I learned from my professors at Ball State. In non-academic settings however, I still feel like my history related skills have been an essential aspect of daily life. In an age of misinformation and politicization, I believe these skills allow me to analyze sources, written and virtual, to separate fact from fiction and develop a thoughtful and engaged opinion.
What is your advice to other Humanities students?
I recommend Humanities students to take time to research all the job and grant options available to them. Early in my collegiate career, I was narrow minded in what I wanted to do. I was very fortunate to have professors that introduced me to new academic avenues. The skills learned in the Humanities, research, critical thinking, and academic writing are valuable in any given field. There is more to the world of academia than just grad school. This affords students a great deal of flexibility when working to follow their passions. Similarly, there are so many grants and programs that provide students the opportunity to research and attend conferences around the world. Funding can be found for almost anything if it is realistic and throughout. These types of experiences are essential in helping students develop the skills as well practical experience necessary for success.