Preschool and Elementary Spanish Teachers Should Collaborate TooBrooks
We have all heard about the importance and need for collaboration among educators. Grade-level teachers should collaborate to align outcomes. Within content areas, teachers should collaborate to align standards and instructional practices. Administrators should collaborate to become better instructional coaches. What about preschool and elementary Spanish teachers? Many of us work alone, with no other foreign language teachers on our campus. Many of us don’t even have a classroom. Most of our colleagues don’t understand foreign language education. Even though all of this may be true, the fact is that elementary and preschool teachers should collaborate too.
The benefits of collaboration in education are widely-recognized. Teachers experience greater job satisfaction. Instruction becomes more efficient and effective. Student achievement increases. The challenge for preschool and elementary Spanish teachers is that we often work alone, in a subject that is not understood by most, and we may not feel a real connection to the staff in our schools. That being said, there are ways to overcome these obstacles and engage in meaningful collaboration that will benefit you and your students.
- Even though there may not be other foreign language teachers at your school, you can still gain insights into instructional practices and classroom management from other content-area teachers. Make the time to talk to other teachers at your school. You may not share planning time with other teachers, so seek them out during their planning time or go to the teachers’ lounge during lunch time. Have specific questions for them. Most teachers are happy to share knowledge and experience.
- Seek out other foreign language teachers in your district and find a time to meet with them regularly. Even if you do this just once a semester, it will help you.
- Join a professional organization such as NNELL or ACTFL. Both of these organizations have a wealth of resources for foreign language teachers. Sonrisas Spanish also offers ongoing support for users of our curriculum. You can call our office any time and speak to us.
- Do some professional reading.
- Talk to the principal of your school. Increasingly, administrators are being asked to take on the role of instructional leaders. Take advantage of this. Many principals have a background as a classroom teacher, and their insights can be of great value.
The amazing thing about collaboration is that often the simple act of sharing your ideas and listening to others’ ideas can change your perspective and give you new energy and direction.