Take a cue from the Supremes and reflect on the way teaching used to be pre- and post-pandemic, and plan for an incredible new school year.
There is an old song from the 60s that talks about reflections. You might even know it. In fact, it may have even started playing in your head when I mentioned it!
When I hear this song, I realize that Diana Ross isn’t singing about teaching. But, one line resonates with me. Can you guess which one? It’s the line from the chorus that says, “Reflections of the way life used to be…” That one line is applicable to our world languages teaching profession—or, truly, teaching in any subject! As for me, it gives me pause to reflect on my years teaching French.
We all have those practices and procedures that were put in place to ensure that each class runs smoothly. Every summer, I would revise my procedures based on lessons learned during the previous year. I, in essence, reflected on the way life used to be, specifically the way teaching used to be. What could I do better for the next group of students? I always took time to reflect so that the next school year might be a richer experience for me and my students.
For example, as I reflected on what worked and what didn’t work one year, I realized that my student desk arrangement didn’t facilitate student learning or opportunities to speak the language. The next year, I rearranged my desks to ensure that students could easily complete cooperative learning activities and interpersonal speaking activities. That small change had a huge impact.
The pandemic changed much of the way life used to be as teachers. Some practices and procedures that worked so well in previous years didn’t work as well this past year, and we had the opportunity to discover new approaches that we want to hold onto. New protocols were in place by school districts, requiring teachers to adapt quickly. It required world languages teachers to think differently about the classroom, how to teach, and how to continue leading students on the path to proficiency.
This fall, more schools will return to in-person instruction. As you enjoy these last few weeks of summer vacation, take time to reflect on the way life used to be in your classroom before the pandemic. Reflect on the way life was in your classroom this past year using this graphic organizer.
Head over to the Language Is Limitless Facebook group and share your reflections. We can all learn from each other!
Ricky taught middle school and high school French for 14 years in Arkansas and Texas. During those years, he also had the opportunity to teach Spanish, English, and Reading Improvement. After leaving the classroom, he served as an Instructional Specialist for World Languages and later, as Director of World Languages for Dallas Independent School District. For the last six years, he has served in various capacities in educational publishing. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree with a major in French, a Master’s of Science in Mass Communication, and a PhD in Curriculum and Instruction. His research focused on diversity in French textbooks. As an educator, his passion is to ensure that all students find themselves reflected in the curriculum.Explore more related to this author