School year update!

Well, I’m going to take a page out of most everyone else’s books and write about my school year this year!

Whew! It’s been an amazing 12 days of school so far! I love my new district – they’re very welcoming, my department is great, and I feel like even though the school is bigger, a lot of the teachers have taken the time to learn my name! I love that! When I decided to apply for this job in March, I had mixed emotions – I knew I needed to make a change, but I knew I would miss my students. I do miss my students from my last school – they were such amazing kids, but I’m loving the students in my new district and don’t regret anything about the switch.

So here are some updates on this year:

Our schools went 1:1 tech this year, and I can’t believe how much better that has made things! From a teacher perspective, I love the idea of going paperless for things like grading, assigning, and for overall saving trees! We’re getting the hang of paper vs. paperless, but my students have responded pretty well. We’re using Schoology this year, and I’m impressed by a lot of the features that it has. I could write my own post on that, but the district level version is awesome. I do bellwork on it, assign homework on it, and add as many supplemental resources as I want without making copies that will end up on my floor.

I talked about proficiency levels in the first week of school, and I think that went great! Students really seemed to “get it” and some of the analogies they wrote were top notch! I was impressed by how well most of them understood the general theme that language learning is a journey and you don’t get there overnight. I plan on giving them check-ins on their performance as the year goes on.

I thought that I was one of those teachers that “didn’t want to teach middle school,” but the more I work with these 8th graders (I have two classes), the more I LOVE them! They’re so sweet and enthusiastic about taking French, but wow, are they talkative. I’m excited to employ new management strategies and get into storytelling with them!

Wow. I always forget that the beginning of French 1 is so hard. I need a much more comprehensive way of starting off with them for next year – maybe storytelling from Day 1 will be that switch? I was so nervous about switching schools that I haven’t told a story yet – I want to make sure these students trust me before I take them through a story. We’re getting there.

We had our first assessment in level one, where I assessed their ability to “greet someone and say goodbye,” and my kids did amazing! It was their first speaking assessment, probably EVER in their school careers, and I think we laid a good foundation. “Don’t look at me, pretend I’m not here and you’re having a real conversation,” I said to each pair. I think they did so well because they didn’t have to stare at me and have me prompt them for answers.

I’ve been trying to work on my level of input for students and I’ll admit that I’m coming up a little short. Maybe it’s the beginning of the year jitters, but I’m reverting to English quite a bit, and I’m hoping that in the coming weeks, I get into a groove and use more TL.

How has your school year started? Have you switched schools? I’d love to hear about your year on your blog or in the comments!

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