About a week ago today, I received some disturbing and upsetting news from my school administrators. Believe it or not, our system’s numbers for ESOL students have dropped. I don’t quite know the reasons for this, but I was aware that as of last week I had only 19 to 20 students in my classes (total). I was NOT aware that there is a (new?) minimum class number that can be funded by Title III, which supports ESOL education. That number is 7 – 20 divided by 4 is only 5.
Actually, I DO know that Cobb County has taken several actions to discourage immigrant populations from rising. The local government is cracking down on day laborer pick up spots, deporting immigrants who have any kind of interaction within the legal system, limiting the number of occupants per house, etc. Interestingly enough, developers in Marietta (and other cities in and around Atlanta) are buying up property and replacing single family homes and old apartments with townhome and craftsman communities where each residence sells for $300,000 to $500,000 per place. Who can afford that?
As I mentioned in another blog post, our school system is currently working toward becoming a Middle Years Programme school, and all students now are required to take a foreign language. Our school has hired another Spanish teacher to teach traditional Spanish, and another to man a language lab utilizing the Rosetta Stone software to teach languages. At first, he was teaching all of the languages: Spanish and French (I think they will not get German until next year). But class numbers got too out of control, so they decided to hire another Spanish teacher, as well as a French teacher to take over the Rosetta Stone for French students.
Guess who also has a certification in French, K-12? You got it…
I am not going to belabor the subject, but is has taken a while to get over the shock of having to change teaching preps after two weeks of school have already passed. I have a wonderful set of ESOL students, and we have already bonded a bit. I held my first ever “birthday celebration” the week before last, passing out cupcakes I made for my students. I also received a belated gift from one of my students the day I found out that the change was a fait accompli. I have moved into a new room, made plans to use my new SRA kit and laid the seeds for the new Autobiography Project.
Let’s not forget as well my summer spent in Mexico on a Fund for Teachers grant. The purpose: To learn better Spanish and to research Hispanic art forms to use in my ESOL classroom. Fantastic. I will now, instead, be teaching French mostly via computer program – in the computer lab. But, the good news is that I don’t have to move out of my current classroom. I also am supposed to be re-instated as an ESOL teacher next year. We’ll see about that.
So, this should be an interesting year. I have not taught French in 6 years – and that was an exploratory program. I have already started looking for projects for my students to do to explore French culture. Luckily, I kept my folders on heraldry (the language of heraldry is derived from French), French fairy tales, and Louisiana’s French heritage. I also have all of those Easter bells that we can make in the spring. I am looking for webquests and anything else that my students can access online and work on from a computer. I may go back to E-Pals, and have classes correspond with Francophone classrooms around the world. I also will have them use Power Point and maybe Publisher (if we have it) to create presentations. Oh, and I think we have Timeliner as well. Oh, and I just bought a book about interesting ideas for country projects. I’m sure everything will work out fine.
Here is a version of the famous jeu de l’oie (goose game) in honor of this event: More on that later!