Woods keeps things interesting in the classroom

By Emily Schmidt
University Communications Student Assistant

MINOT, N.D. – It’s easy to feel comfortable in routine.  For Grayce Woods, an English education major at Minot State, this is an unfamiliar idea.

Growing up in a military family, Woods has lived all over the world, namely Italy at six years old and South Korea as a sophomore in high school.  This has given her a unique mindset when it comes to her cultural upbringing.

“When you move schools, you almost come into a different culture every time you go somewhere,” she said. “When I would go to a different school, there was a new interest there. It was always different; it was always changing, especially going to military schools. Even though I wasn’t leaving, there were always new kids coming, so I was always meeting new people and experiencing different cultures and perspectives.”

In Italy, Woods attended a Department of Defense Education Activity school in which the students learned about their host country. Her teacher Ms. Fara taught her most memorable cultural exposure.

“There was this tale called ‘La Befana,’” she said. “The three wiseman came to her house looking for Jesus, and they asked her if she would go with them. She said no, but then she realized she should have gone with them, so she searches for them. She took all the goods that she made and left them on children’s doors. There was this little poem we learned. It was La Befana, buena noche, good night. There were all these little things we’d do like singing the tale, so that was cool to learn about the customs and traditions.”

In fact, it was in Italy where Woods’ affinity for English grew.

“My sixth-grade teacher got me excited about English,” Woods said. “She even gave us a lot of things to keep. I have a pizza box full of things we wrote in class like poetry and stories. When I look back at that, I remember how much I loved English at the time.”

Her experiences in Korea have also tied into her education at Minot State.

“I read a book for an education class; it was Chinese American. It was interesting because I have a lot of Asian friends from when I was living in Korea, and as I was reading it, I could see my friends,” she said. “I could see them saying some of the things in there, and it was just fun to have that connection. Having lived overseas and having experienced the traveling gives me a greater knowledge of the things that we study, and it actually even makes me realize how many things we don’t study.”

This is the biggest takeaway Woods has gathered from her schooling overseas: to break the routine of only consuming the familiar.

“Going in and becoming an English teacher, especially in North Dakota where everyone’s used to what they’re used to, I want to push my students, give them diverse literature, push them to read things they haven’t read before,” she said. “Overseas, that was something we were really pushed to read. If anything, it has left me more open-minded, that’s one thing I’m so grateful for.

"I’m always willing to try something new and find new artists; I don’t feel like I’m stuck on one thing.”

About Minot State University
Minot State University is a public university dedicated to excellence in education, scholarship, and community engagement achieved through rigorous academic experiences, active learning environments, commitment to public service, and a vibrant campus life.

Published: 02/03/20   

» More MSU News