Stephanie McCrary

Decatur High School, Decatur AL

Work alongside experts in British public history at the Royal Archives and British Library in London to make historical documents more accessible to the public and create video learning around the reign of the Hanovers and the British Empire during the 18th-20th centuries.

Where I've Been

  • Paris, France
  • Edinburgh , Scotland
  • London, United Kingdom

My Fellowship in Images

Edinburgh, Scotland
Reading and analyzing correspondence between King George III and Aristarchus, an 18th century spy. All part of the Georgia Papers Programme!
Hampton Court
An unfinished Alterpiece by Michaelangelo!!
Museum of the Docklands, one of the most amazing museums I have been to.
The Hall of Mirrors at Versailles.

Igniting Personal and Professional Growth

What changed as a result of your fellowship? Why was it vital for you to pursue this particular opportunity/experience? What learning gaps (yours and/or your students’) were/will be filled as a result of your fellowship?

During this fellowship I learned about the collaborative efforts that occur between archivists, public historians and educators. In order to have a true historical and educational experience for students all 3 have to come together to create and organize historical content in an accessible way for students. This time in Europe has allowed me to make connections with archivists and historians and allows me to bring primary source content into my classroom, impacting my students for years to come.

How do you see your teaching evolving after your fellowship? Your students’ learning?

I plan to make my classroom far more student centered. I do not just want to tell my students what happened or have them read a textbook that describes an event. Instead they will now be reading sources that were written by Hanoverian's about what was occurring. From this I expect my students critical thinking skills to expand as they learn to read between the lines about historical events. I think that this will also help them in other areas as well.

What were some unplanned or unexpected experiences or outcomes of your fellowship?

One amazingly unexpected outcome is that myself and a local history professor, Dr. Bibbee, talked with the head of the Windsor Castle Learning Center about incorporating the Georgian Papers Programme in my classroom. This fall Dr. Bibbee and I are going to take a few days to teach my students about archival work and its importance in education. Then the Georgian Papers Programme is going to allow my students to transcribe Hanoverian Documents. The ONLY high school students ever to do so.

Impacting Your Classroom, School and Community

How will your students learn differently because of your new knowledge or skills?

My students are going to learn to read and analyze better due to an increased number of high quality primary source documents. Additionally, my students are going to be able to watch multiple lessons that were filmed from various locations throughout England, France and Scotland. This, I believe, will help my students to gain a better appreciation for history through a combination of the two.

What specific events, projects or deliverables will your students experience related to your fellowship?

My students will be able to view roughly a dozen video lessons throughout the year as we move through our historical content. Additionally, since such a large portion of the historical era we cover is during the reign of the Hanover's in England, there are so many sources that I will be able to share with them to make the classroom student centered. Finally, being able to transcribe documents for the Royal Archives will give them a broader sense of how important historical research is.

How, specifically, will your fellowship extend beyond your classroom? (e.g. families, school-at-large, afterschool groups, surrounding community, colleagues, etc.)

This is going to extend beyond my classroom into the other history classrooms. I have already begun to make plans that will enable all of the history teachers to access the Hanoverian documents as they are needed in their classrooms. Furthermore, with Dr. Bibbee assisting my students in the transcription work, it is going to help connect many of these students with the surrounding collegiate community. Hopefully this will create a lasting relationship between our high school and the University.

Inspiring the Future

Why was this opportunity transformative for your teaching on a macro-level?

This experience has helped me to enhance the learning experience in my classroom. I will be incorporating new innovative ways of teaching my students that will also help them to succeed in other areas. Furthermore, due to this fellowship there will be an increased presence of outside influences to help make these connections for my students. Through collaboration with my local University as well as global connections from the Royal Archives at Windsor my teaching is going to greatly improve.

Why do students benefit from this type of teacher learning?

I believe that this shows students that learning is not just done in a classroom. I want them to understand that there are so many sources out there that they can learn history from. Whether it is a museum, a historical site, or an archive or library, there are so many ways to learn. Furthermore, it is the same in all areas, not just history. I hope that it makes them want to explore and see what it is they want answers to, and not to just read a textbook to find out.

How would you describe to a friend or grant funder the fundamental ways in which your fellowship changed your personal and/or professional perspective?

This fellowship changed so much for me. I was able to talk and work with historical experts who I never would have had a chance to collaborate with otherwise. These collaborations are going to extend my knowledge immensely in the classroom. Furthermore, just because I am no longer in England does not mean that I am done. I am still working as a transcriber for the Royal Archives and will continue to learn and grow as a professional.