The Independent Historian

The Independent Historian

1 employee
6 years in business

About this tutor

  I am Mike Casteel. I have always enjoyed history since my family, and I traveled to Germany during our family vacation in 1989. I had learned that my father's grandfather when we visited him in a nursing home was telling us about his experience serving in the Operation of Barbarossa 1941-1942. My great grandfather only spoke German, while he was telling his story that I did not understand what he was talking about. My parents had told my sister and me, that our great grandfather served in the German army at age 41—42 and the Russian army captured my great grandfather. He managed to escape from the Russian guards back into Germany in the middle of the Second World War. I had asked my parents if any other family members had served in World War II. My father's father served in the United States Army during the last year of World War II and the beginning of the occupation of Germany. They also told me that my mother's step-uncle had served in the United States Army as a Sergeant; Sergeant Roy W. Harmon first day of battle was also his unit's, 362nd Infantry Regiment of 91st Infantry Division first day of their division's war front, died saving another company from being slaughtered by the German army in Italy. 

During the following school year, I was in third grade after finding out about three of my family members who had served in World War II and it was an instantaneous connection that drove me to learn more about World War II and history. That is why I had felt after two decades after high school that I need to earn a bachelor’s degree and possibly earn Doctorates until I had fallen ill. I have been diagnosed with Chronic Stage 3B Kidney Disease in September, 2019. 

I attended the University of Hawaii at Hilo Summer 2015—end of Spring 2019 semester and attended Washington State University Vancouver 2019 Semester. I was not able to complete the classes that I was taking at Washington State University Vancouver because of my kidneys.  I want to assist students in learning about history. I love history and cannot get enough learning about history especially World War II and Military History in World War II.

High School:

·      Living Heritage Academy 1995—1998 

                      (earned diploma)


·      Clark College in 1998—1999    

·      Clark College in 2012—2014                  

                      Transferred Credits

·      The University of Hawaii at Hilo 2015—2019                                       

                      Earned: 102.65 Credits

·      Washington State University Vancouver  

                      No Credits Earn Became Ill

Worked for many jobs:

     Burger King

     All About Tours



     George Schmid & Sons

     City of Washougal Parks Department 


     Mikes Lawn and Yard Services (Self-


The University of Hawaii at Hilo Major and Minor:

·      Liberal Arts Major:


·      Minor:

    East Asia


    United States

o   They do not teach Military History

    The University of Hawaii at Hilo 400-

    Level Required Classes to Graduate

·      History 490: Historiography & Research 

    Methods (Fall 2017 Semester)

·      History 491: Senior Thesis Spring 2018 


o   Turned in 30 Page Essay to two 


o   On Thursday, May 03, 2018, 

Presented my Senior thesis (See 

Link below)

o  Clash in Trieste: The First Battle of 

the Cold War


·      World War II

·      Military History during World War II


·      Clash in Trieste: The First Battle of the Cold War[1]

o   Sold on:

Barnes & Noble

Hardcover $21.99

eBook $9.99


eBook $9.99


·      April, 1993, I was diagnosed with Learning 


Health Issues:

·      Birth to 1991, Collapsing Ear Canals

o   Ear Nose Throat Doctor surgically fixed 

the collapse ear canals

o   Wore Hearing Aids 1987—1990

o   Late 1990

o   Early 1991

*      Barely hear since birth

·      Birth to present, Migraine Attacks

·      During the Fall 2019 Semester, Diagnosed with 

Chronic Stage 3B Kidney Disease

However, this has not stopped me from learning about history and helping others with their history classes including my oldest niece when she needs help. Interested in hiring an inspired independent historian who loves assisting others in learning history? 

[1] I transformed my senior thesis into a book added more chapters and added information to each original chapter. 

I love learning and talking about history especially World War II.  A friend of mine in Hilo, Hawaii has said several times in the past, when I talk about the history there is enthusiasm in my voice.  When I get enthusiastic, my voice tends to rise a little.  I hope my enthusiasm for history rubs off on my future tutored students!

I love history and I love reading every day about history especially primary sources based on World War II.  My friends and family always tease me about caring a historical book and reading while either spending time with them or waiting for them.  Historians never stop reading about history, especially primary and secondary sources.  

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Camas, WA 98607
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What is your typical process for working with a new student?

Work with students 1-12 and all college levels!

Go over each of the steps of what their teachers requiring and requesting from their students to help them understand the material that is being taught.  When it comes to using their textbooks, I require the student and student’s parents to provide preferably PDF files of the textbooks and research books.  For any assignments including review sheets, I require a copy as well so that I can see what the student is working on.  I will teach what their textbooks and handouts that the teachers provide, and I might add more information to the student’s knowledge of history.  Every school that is not at the college level requires students to remember names, dates, places, etc.  When I took European History from Professor Michael Bitter now, he is the dean of the college told his students that at the college level students are not required to memorize all of those.  What is important is knowing the actual history and what happened during that time of history. 

I remember going to school from first to twelfth grade that my mother would help me read the section of the history textbook and when I had to answer the questions at the end of each section that the textbooks had, we would go back to the area where had read and review over it to answer the questions.  If the textbooks and teacher gave a history list of things to remember I would look up the answers in the textbook to help me memorize the answers.  I would do the same thing with my students as well.  I can help the students with their research, homework assignments, and preparing for quizzes and exams.  Some college professors require their students to write essays for quizzes and exams. 

What education and/or training do you have that relates to your work?

Clark College 1998—1999

General Education

Clark College 2012—2014

General Education

U.S. Survey History II & III

University of Hawaii at Hilo 2015—2019 (Earned

     102.65 Credits)

Spring 2015 Semester

History 152:  World History (1500 CE to Present)

History 313:  History of China II

Fall 2015 Semester

History 151:  World History (Beginning to 1500 CE)

History 300:  Historical Methods

History 395:  Europe in Era of World War II

Spring 2016 Semester

History 365:  Medieval History

History 383:  U.S. History 1939 to 1980

Fall 2016 Semester

General Education Requirements

Spring 2017 Semester

General Education Requirements

Fall 2017 Semester

History 490:  Historiography & Research (Senior Thesis Part 1)

Spring 2018 Semester

History 284:  History of Hawaii

History 481:  Pacific History (Land & Sovereignty in Pacific)

History 491:  Senior Thesis (Senior Thesis Part 2)

Fall 2018 Semester

History 314:  History of Japan III

History 399V:  Independent Historical Study

Spring 2019 Semester

History 318:  History of China III

History 420:  Mao

Washington State University Vancouver Fall 2019


Could not finish classes because I became ill to Chronic Kidney Disease

Do you have a standard pricing system for your lessons? If so, please share the details here.

I teach per hour and sometimes give a flat rate per quarter/semester lesson.  Depending on how the customer wants to be billed.  I prefer students and student’s parents to pay me through PayPal.  Since does not have an app for mac type of devices/MacBook laptops, I will be teaching from zoom.

How did you get started teaching?

In 2013, I started off tutoring Pre-Algebra and Algebra to college students.  Then when I moved into a university setting, I learned how to do historical research.  This past year a friend of mine in California needed help with her Art History class assignments and essays.  I do not know much about the art; however, that did not stop me from helping her with the history side of the art starting with Mesopotamia to the modern-day.  She really learned a lot from me helping her with her art history class.  History takes a different type of bread of people.  I have always had the mind to learn about history when other subjects bypass me.  There are many people who say the same thing about their field of expertise example geologists are familiar with the history of the earth: however, they may not have the mind of a historian (another different bread of people).  I would love to assist the students to learn more about history and I will include my enthusiasm. 

What types of students have you worked with?

I have worked with students with ADHD (even though it was a little challenging especially since the student refused to listen to me at a young age, I learned how to help the student), students who have learning disabilities (I am one of them), to students that are normal.  Many people tend to wait till the day that the assignments are due which leads to anxiety and stressing out.  I tell them to take a deep breather and relax before I walk them through their assignments.  Stressing and anxiety tend to block the brain from understanding their assignments.  I helped a friend who stresses out on her assignments and I read her assignments, then I told her what the assignment is saying in an easier understanding way.  As soon as I told her with a brief explanation, she instantly understood the assignment and went off doing it without a hitch. 

Describe a recent event you are fond of.

I am extremely interested in learning a lot about World War II and I am constantly reading primary historical documents, memoirs, and unit history books that are also primary sources.  Every person has their own favorite type of subjects that is either taught in school/college, self-taught and while they are sometimes on their job. 

What advice would you give a student looking to hire a teacher in your area of expertise?

The students or student’s parents should look for a tutor that is enthusiastic and knowledgeable in their field of expertise.  The tutors who are knowledgeable in their field of expertise and have patients with their customers are the type of tutors that the student should look for in assisting them. 

What questions should students think through before talking to teachers about their needs?

Students should think through the way they have been approaching learning history so that they can understand the material that the teacher is teaching them. 

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