“I’ve been wanting to focus more on diverse history opportunities for students, or what I call ‘changing the historical narrative,’” said Central Academy social studies teacher Canada Snyder.

That led to this:

“…Canada Snyder was selected as one of twelve educators from around the United States to participate in the 2019 Educator Study Tour to the United Arab Emirates, sponsored by the World Affairs Council and the United Arab Emirates Embassy to the United States,” reads the letter, in part, that Snyder recently received from the WAC.

She’ll make a field trip to the Middle East on March 8-17.

These are the steps Snyder took that led to her opportunity next month:

  • Last May, Snyder became the CRAVE (Building Connections, Emphasizing Relevance, Inspiring Action, Honoring Viewpoints and Demanding Equity) PLC (Professional Learning Community) leader in the district, a teacher peer group focused on increasing diverse learning opportunities for all students.
  • In August, she took a class at the Iowa State Bar Association through the State of Iowa and ISEA called Integrating Middle East Studies in the Curriculum.
  • She wrote a course request in October to add College history of the Middle East and Islam to DMPS, which was approved by district curriculum coordinators and by DMACC for college credit, starting next year. Over 40 students have requested the course so far.
  • She requested placement on a listserv for high school and college-level teachers who teach Middle East Studies. That’s how she learned of the grant/study tour opportunity at the World Affairs Council. The application process included a project proposal.

“My project proposal is focused on comparing and contrasting educational opportunities for women in the UAE vs the USA,” she said.

All of this is very “Canadian,” you could say. Snyder’s MO is to supplement curriculum, not just deliver it. In the past she’s created learning opportunities like bringing Afghanistan’s ambassador to the United States to Central Academy and creating a primer on the Iowa caucuses for use in classrooms statewide.

Her principal expenses on the upcoming trip are paid. But that’s not to say she didn’t earn her own way, and you can bet she’ll return with plenty of souvenir experience that will inform future lessons for her students.

Bon voyage, Canada – and congrats!


Published on