At the end of November, I was hired to teach a new 7th grade Exploratory Language program. This was the administration’s solution to a failed compulsory extension of their 8th Spanish program that was halted in October by the abrupt resignation of their teacher. I wasn’t certified to teach Spanish, so the workaround was to reestablish 7th grade Spanish as a 7th grade Exploratory Language, and offer Spanish, Latin (for which I DO hold certification, and actually know), and French.
When I accepted the position, I knew very little Spanish, and French wasn’t even on the map. I was willing to invest the time needed to teach them, though, and I had a secret weapon…my CI language training. The administration recognized such value, and I was on my way.
In about 3 weeks, Fickle Friday is something I’ll begin with my 7th grade Exploratory Language classes. Why then? That’s when we begin Latin, the second of three languages this year.
On Fickle Friday a student rolls a die (6, 10, 20…100-sided?) to see which language we’ll be speaking that day. This has a purpose; I don’t want students to think that they should abandon Spanish just because we’re starting a new language. The same will be true for both Spanish and Latin once we get to French. Plus, it’s fun.
As I reflect a bit, my experience with Teaching CI Online was fine. The obvious physical barrier you would expect to be an issue didn’t actually impede much of anything. CI Online is absolutely possible. One major drawback was lack of reliable internet. On bad days, we just didn’t have class. Occasionally, I had to mute all microphones or disable cameras because of taxed bandwidth at a particular school. That was not cool for checking comprehension, teaching to the eyes, and making connections. If a school was prepared, there were no problems.