Gateway: Living

Teacher brings history alive with Teddy Roosevelt impersonation

Gig Harbor High School teacher Jim Greetham does a living history reenactment of Teddy Roosevelt.
Gig Harbor High School teacher Jim Greetham does a living history reenactment of Teddy Roosevelt. jbessex@gateline.com

Teachers within the Peninsula School District and beyond use many different innovative methods to engage their students in the subjects they’re teaching, ranging from guest speakers, demonstrations and experiments, field trips and more.

For Jim Greetham, a Gig Harbor High School teacher since 2000, his signature method to engage students in his U.S. History class is to bring that history to life by transforming himself into a well known U.S. historical figure: Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt, the 26th U.S. president.

“I chose him because he’s such a high-energy character,” Greetham said. “He was just one of those people that intrigued me enough that I read a lot more about him.”

I chose him because he’s such a high-energy character. He was just one of those people that intrigued me enough that I read a lot more about him.

Jim Greetham, Gig Harbor High School teacher

Greetham owns several books on Roosevelt and said that bringing the figure to life was fairly easy, with the help of some inexpensive costuming purchased online.

“You can’t do Teddy Roosevelt real well unless you have a little belly to work with, which I do at this point in my life,” Greetham added with a laugh.

The teacher also chose Roosevelt because of his colorful history and high level of ethics.

“He did what he thought was right even when he didn’t think he would get reelected,” Greetham said. “In every situation he was the center of attention ...(he was) this full-of-life character who could have adventures and still stand on principals.”

It’s just to add a little more fun to the day. A little more variety. (The students) seem to remember it. I’m not sure if they look forward to it or if they just think it’s funny to watch a middle-aged, chubby guy dress up.

Greetham

Greetham, a graduate of Peninsula High, recently portrayed Roosevelt at a fundraiser for the Key Peninsula Historical Society on Saturday at the Olde Glencove Hotel on the Key Peninsula.

He has been dressing up and bringing Roosevelt to his class and students for the last eight years.

“It’s just to add a little more fun to the day. A little more variety,” he said. “(The students) seem to remember it. I’m not sure if they look forward to it or if they just think it’s funny to watch a middle-aged, chubby guy dress up.”

Andrea Haffly: 253-358-4155, @gateway_andrea

  Comments