After a year “off,” this fall I’ll be back to teaching, in a unique opportunity (homeschool co-op) that I’m really excited about. And apprehensive about.
Things that worry me:
- Mostly, time. I’ll be seeing my students only once a week (60 minutes for elementary, 90 minutes for upper grades). I’ll be finding something for them to do every day, though, so if you have taught a blended class and have recommendations, please send them along!
Things that I’m excited about:
- They’re all novices. I haven’t taught novice (above kindergarten) in years and I’m SO EXCITED.
- NO ADMINISTRATION. I’m totally in charge. Can you imagine? No red tape. No evaluation systems. No tech bans. No attendance records. No announcements. NO GRADING REQUIREMENTS. I can NEVER GIVE A LETTER/NUMBER GRADE until a parent asks for something for a transcript.
Even before I contemplated this opportunity, I’d already determined one of the big changes I would make when I went back to teaching, and it was to my required supplies. From now on, students will be required to find their own audience.
A few things I have learned in ten years of teaching:
- Whether or not students are able to use any language for a lifetime is not primarily linked to the language skills they acquire in my class.
- Students who do not want to learn language will not use it in their adult life, no matter what I do.
- The amount of time we have in the majority of school classes is not enough to foster true bilingualism.
- The students who end up with a lifelong skill in a second language are the ones who want to
Do it through Facebook, Twitter, email, Skype, a family down the street, someone in another class. A relative, an epal, a blogger or Xbox. Two or five is fine, but at least one. Students have to make a community connection with someone who is truly bilingual – not another Spanish learner.
Some considerations we should ask:
- Does the connection have to be a native speaker?
- How will the student report to me who the person is and that they are willing to interact with him/her in the TL?
- How will the student report interaction? I’m envisioning a requirement on this for every assessment, perhaps a weekly thing.
- What are the security issues involved? What will parents worry about, and how can I keep them informed?