There are many things that make being a World Language teacher difficult, but I think the hardest part is a feeling of isolation. Often, World Language departments in schools are small, and like-minded collaboration is difficult. Additionally, there is little professional development for us at the school level. When schools have professional development, we often don't fit in. We aren't a core class, but we don't fit in with most electives either. So, for professional development, we head to local conferences as well as national conferences like ACTFL in the hopes of learning new techniques, gathering new materials and meeting new contacts to help us improve our classes.
Thankfully, we also have the magic of technology to allow us to find our own professional development. So, it is time to get out there and find your PLN (personal learning network) and get some great ideas to improve your class!
Blogs are great ways to learn new things. Best of all, they enable us to learn from the successes and mistakes of others to save us valuable time. I have a long list of blogs that I read (ok, sometimes I skim). The ideas on these blogs can save us hours of searching and writing our own plans. The teachers that write these blogs are always open to sharing ideas, making them a very valuable resource. (If you are a blogger, or know a great WL blog, please add it on the form at the end of this post!) Check out the list so far!
Social media is another way to find great resources and other WL teachers to collaborate with. I know many people shudder at the thought of Twitter, I was always the same way. However, I have found that just with my small amount of activity, I have met some other great teachers, found some great resources and participated in some wonderful chats. If you are ready to give it a try, here are some great people to follow:
Great conversations happen quickly on Twitter. Here are some I like to try to participate in:
#flipchat is every Monday at 8EST
#edtech is every Sunday at 8EST
#langchat is every Thursday at 8EST
And of course, there are many webinars available. I have one on November 13, you can register here. I am also co-presenting in December 5th with French middle school teacher Ellen Dill, and you can register here. If you are interested in Project Based Learning, check out this one. You can find a webinar on just about anything if you look. Although I think it is best to do them live so you can ask questions, most are recorded so you can watch them when your schedule allows.
So, now that the weather is turning cooler (it snowed this week in Denver!) cuddle up to your computer and learn something new today!