I’m Gracie Krouse, a ninth and tenth grade history teacher in Indianapolis, IN. I am originally from a small family farm in Ohio. I am quite looking forward to meeting all of you so soon!
I grew up in a family of teachers – mom, aunts, cousins – so I was surrounded by people talking about their experience in the profession. I didn’t want to fall in line with the family tradition, but I guess it was inevitable. After detesting my experience working for my congressman, I worked for a summer in college teaching eighth grade girls at a service program and didn’t look back! I changed my major, revised my post-grad plans, and got the job in Indianapolis after completing a grad program.
2) Why is this course important to you? To our society? To our students?
This course is very important to me in part because I have desperately wanted to visit the Middle East for quite some time. I didn’t study much about it in my history courses in high school or college, but I started keeping up with the news from the region after reading an article about the demonstrations in Tunisia that sparked the Arab Spring. Now that I’m teaching a new (to me) course that spends over 10 weeks on the region, it is imperative that I travel in the place to speak with the authority and authenticity that can only come from experience. To my students, it is imperative that they understand the history of the region, the forces that have shaped borders and alliances, and appreciate the diversity and complexity of the region. It is important that they have classroom experiences that break stereotypes and introduce the appropriate level of nuance on the subject. To our society, it is imperative that individuals appreciate and empathize with all people of the world, especially those that may not be represented in the narratives and images they see on a regular basis.
3) What do you hope to get out of this experience?
In addition to the obvious profound experience of simply being in Jordan, I hope to leave with a more complex and authentic understanding of the region. I am excited to dialogue with all of the program participants about best teaching practices and ways to frame lessons on the regions. I hope to secure great resources and stories for my curriculum, but also give myself time and space to process my own experience.