I have been teaching high school French for eight years, and during this time I’ve developed an online teaching collaboration and friendship with an English teacher in Fécamp, France. Over the years, we’ve coordinated dozens of projects to enrich our students’ foreign language learning experience. We’ve held live videoconferences, shared video tours of our respective school campuses and school events, judged each other’s student skits and song performances, and more.
Fund for Teachers is making it possible for me to extend my online collaboration beyond the capabilities of the internet and snail mail to physically immerse myself in the culture I have fed upon virtually. My team member is a long-time friend and fellow French teacher who I hope to assist in demonstrating the immeasurable benefits of an internet classroom exchange.
We will embark on a journey beginning in the south of France and concluding in Normandy, where my French partner teacher lives. She has arranged for us to reside with relatives who are graciously welcoming us into their homes. This is the most rewarding, authentic way to experience culture and practice language!
This fellowship experience will impact our teaching and student learning when school resumes in the fall. First off, enthusiasm for language and culture will prevail! Our improved fluency and expanded vocabulary will be evident, including current adolescent lingo that our high school students are so interested in. Planned activities include school visits and meeting with teachers, students, and administrators, where ideas for future projects and collaborations will be born. Through this self-designed fellowship, we will learn numerous details about many facets of French culture: education, technology, environmental challenges, families, communities, economy, politics, and more.
We thank Fund for Teachers and its sponsors who realize these hands-on, self-designed opportunities which deepen our professional development and in turn student learning. Fund for Teachers grant recipients have so accurately commented, “Equally as valuable as the funds… is the respect and support [these] grants represent.” This team could not agree more.