Episode 66 – Lifelong Learning: IAL at SCOLT Part 1

Episode 66 - Lifelong Learning: IAL at SCOLT Part 1
It's About Language, with Norah Jones
It's About Language, with Norah Jones
Episode 66 - Lifelong Learning: IAL at SCOLT Part 1
/

“This is my calling, this is my vocation. This is what I love doing. So I love languages, I love learning about other cultures, about traveling, about seeing different perspectives, seeing the world through my students and other people’s eyes. And so that’s why I love, and I love helping students build and grow in their language learning journey. So that’s what I do. I don’t teach them. I help them grow.” Yeider Guerra

Jump down to listen to the podcast

Do you love learning?

Take a moment and think about that – don’t rush past.

Do you love learning?

Re-read Yeider’s quote, above. When you do, are you nodding because you know the experience, the feeling, the energy he is talking about? Or do his words flow past you and disappear, because you have not had such energy in learning and sharing discovery?

In this challenging, difficult world, it may be that Yeider’s level of energy and excitement seems alien to your life. If so, it’s good to be honest with yourself for a moment. Here’s why:

If you have that level of joy in learning and sharing learning, you need to share it.

If you have lost it, you can find it again. It’s real, it’s humane, it’s a gift for you, too, waiting for you to open it.

Real human beings go to conferences such as SCOLT. Adults come in tired, discouraged, confused, maybe even (as we hear in this ensemble recording) giving their life’s work one more try. Not just teaching, mind you: their identity, their purpose, their sense of self and contribution to – impact on – life.

Other adults come in thirsting for contact, starving for connection, nervous to share an idea that just might be good (who knows), and above all: grateful, grateful, grateful to be with others who care.

Then the magic happens.

How many quotes I desire to share with you just to give you a flavor! Best that you listen to the podcast and see how it speaks to you. But here’s another that touched my heart and is the reason why I go on the road (literally, now, or digitally):

I got into the language profession because I felt like I was unlocking a puzzle, and at the end of the puzzle, so many new friends. (Emery Reid)

There’s so much there, right? Life IS a puzzle. We CAN unlock pieces. LANGUAGE is how we do that. When we unlock, as we unlock, we have COMMUNITY. Not just “people around us,” but FRIENDS.

That’s why I do these podcasts, share these people with you, with the world: there are so many challenges in this world that can create sorrow, anger, despair. Through our language, we identify those pieces of the puzzle, we find the pattern that can give us a picture of hope, and as we work, and as we find, we help others, make friends, build community, find hope.

Enjoy the podcast.


Click to listen:

Episode 66 – Lifelong Learning: IAL at SCOLT Part 1

Scroll down for full transcript.

If you've never done #cliftonstrengths, yourself or with your team, don't wait any longer.  Norah Jones of FLUENCY CONSULTING is the one and only to do it! It's all about your super powers: finding & using them to affect positive change in the world. What's not to love?!

Elizabeth Mack
Founder and CEO / Freestyle Languages

Testimonial

Yes, @NorahLulicJones definitely has the talent of "bringing out" the best in others or allowing them to showcase themselves in the best light! Thank you for directing the spotlight on others who have great stories and talents to share with others. 

Lisa Fore

Testimonial

Your podcasts are exceptionally relevant and applicable, thought-provoking and insightful, easy-to-follow and enjoyable!  

Paul Sandrock
Senior Advisor for Language Learning Initiatives / ACTFL

Testimonial

You have an immense talent to draw the best from your participants. 

Richard Brecht

Testimonial

Norah knows how to LISTEN - she really "hears" the message - and the interview is richer because of it.  New questions come from the hearing. 

Terri Marlow

Want to hear more? Access previous episodes, and get to know the wonderful people I talk with through the It’s About Language page, or by clicking on the Podcast tab above. You can also find this week’s episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter.

As a certified Gallup Strengths coach, I can provide you or your organization personalized coaching to discover and build on your strengths.

I provide workshops, presentations, and talks that inspire and engage through powerful language insights, and I pair those insights with practical applications for the lives of educators, learners, businesses, and faith-centered organizations. I’d love to share ideas with your organization or group, and develop an event tailored to your objectives.

Click here to start a conversation.


Transcript

Norah Jones:

Hi, welcome to the podcast. I’m bringing it from the Southern Conference On Language Teaching, called SCOLT, in Norfolk, Virginia. After two years of virtual meetings, folks in the language, education and service industries are all here together face to face, getting in lots of hugs and a lot of missed time, learning things through sessions. And I ask them here at this conference, the same thing that I will ask you in your life, who are you? What’s your role? Why are you where you are in your life? What got you into that thing which you do in your life, and what’s your superpower? Enjoy the attendees at the school conference, and think about that, please for yourself.

Emery Reid:

My name is Emery Reid, and I’m from Damascus, Virginia. I’m at this conference for my students to gather as much wisdom, as much love and inspiration as I can and bring it back. And I got into the language profession because I felt like I was unlocking a puzzle, and at the end of the puzzle, so many new friends and so much to explore and I just love teaching. And my superpower is yet to be found. I don’t know what it is, but I just stick next to the smart people. So that’s my superpower.

Yolanda Castellanos:

Hi, I’m Yoli Castellanos. I currently live in Raleigh. I’m a Spanish teacher at this super school, Dillard Drive Magnet Middle School. I’m always interested in this kind of conferences because there is always something new to learn. I got in this profession after I finished my bachelor’s degree, just 25 something years ago. My superpower is I love to see my students, just listen to them talking and understanding the language. Thank you so much.

Cris Sparks-Early:

Hi, I’m Cris Sparks-Early. I live in Woodbridge, Virginia, and I am a Professor of Spanish at Northern Virginia Community College. This is my first outing in two and a half years, so I’m thrilled to be at school and collaborating and seeing my friends and getting to be with my people, which is where I’m most comfortable. I got into teaching by accident, really. I was a graduate teaching assistant and I didn’t think I wanted to be a teacher. But then I realized that is where I am the most comfortable is helping others, foster a love for language and culture and travel and relationships with others. My superpower, if I had a superpower, do I have a superpower? My superpower is infusing humor and laughter in the Spanish classroom.

Victoria Rodrigo:

Hello. My name is Victoria Rodrigo. I live in Atlanta and I am from Spain. I am professor of the Spanish Applied Linguistics, I teach at Georgia State. And I am here in SCOLT because I want to share with the wonderful teachers that we have in our schools, a very nice project the library of books written and illustrated by students for students. This is at college level. And right now I want to share this free open access library that everybody can have access of access. Right now it’s in Spanish, but we can have it in other foreign languages, if you guys want to let me know. You just go to www.serieleamos.com and you will see the material. You can download it, you can use it for the classes, you can make it yours. So I got into the language profession because I really like teaching. I think it’s one of the best things we can do, I love it. My superpower, I don’t know. Thank you.

Thomas Soth:

All right. So my name is Thomas Soth. I live in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. I am a Spanish teacher and a department head. I’m at this conference because I get to be live with other people and I get to learn a lot and it’s fun. And I get to see a lot of cool teachers do cool things, and makes me see well beyond my classroom.

Thomas Soth:

I got into the language profession because a, I was a horrible Spanish teacher, I got some Fs in my report cards from high school. I only got Cs in college in Spanish one, but I had to take four semesters and after that was painful, so I was not giving up. So I have an English degree and a Spanish degree. And my superpower is the ability to tell dad jokes in Spanish all the time to my students and make them laugh or just look at me and shake their heads, because they spend a little bit of time trying to figure out the language because they want to understand the joke. And when they finally get it, they understand that it’s not that funny, but it was fun to figure out.

German Suarez:

Hello. My name is German Suarez. I am originally from Cali, Colombia. And I currently live in Georgia. I serve as the Supervisor of the World Languages Department in Cobb County Schools. And I am currently at this conference just to come and see a lot of about great people that support world languages around this case, the south but really all parts of the world. It’s great to see everyone learn. We are lifelong learners and teachers as well, so we need to continue learning and it’s a great conference to do so.

German Suarez:

And what got me into the language profession? Actually was not intended. I’m not a major in languages actually, I have undergrad in computer science. But as part of my degree I participated in help in the Foreign Language Resource Center at the university was studying at Kennesaw State University in Georgia. And through actually helping students who were in education. I learned a little bit about education and when I graduated was actually part of what is life in they were not jobs in my field at the time. And I got an opportunity to get into education and allow it actually is what I do now and really changed my life. I said, where’s my superpower. I think that probably taking opportunities and things that happen in life and connecting with people will say that is not necessarily my superpower, just I think something that we all can tap into to make sure that we all work together in making this a better world. Thank you.

Leslie Baldwin:

Bonjour. I am Leslie Baldwin. I live in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. I’m the Executive Director of SCOLT and I’m also the World Languages Director for the Winston-Salem Forsyth County Schools. I am at this conference for multiple reasons. One it’s my job, I’m the executive director of the organization, but I would be here anyway, regardless of that, because I am here to see colleagues, see friends, learn from each, learn from others, learn new things that I can come back and share with the teachers with whom I work.

Leslie Baldwin:

I got into the language profession because of a high school Spanish teacher, Sharon Mattingly, who is in Kentucky now. And she was amazing. I always knew I was going to be a teacher, but I did not know what I was going to teach until I took Spanish with Ms. Mattingly. She is why I am in this profession. What’s my superpower? I guess my superpower is multitasking and keeping track of SCOLT and my day job and teaching at a class at a university and handling my family and being with them and just all the different roles, I guess all the different hats. That’s my superpower.

David Luna:

Hello. My name is David. I live in Virginia and I’m a freelance French and Spanish teacher. And I’m at this conference to improve my skills and knowledge of world language podgy. What got me into the language profession is my own experience in high school. But of course my own studies as an undergraduate student. And what’s my superpower, my strive to achieve mutual understanding with people I don’t know, and people I don’t get along with is something I feel like is a power in its own. And I wish to hone it throughout these years of affecting my profession.

Wendy Stuck:

Hi there, this is Wendy Stuck. I live in Newport News, Virginia. And I am a Spanish teacher with Newport News Public Schools. I am attending SCOLT to rejuvenate myself. I’ve hit a bump. I’ve hit a burnout, I’ve hit a snag and I’m just trying to be around other teachers and other people who are excited about teaching world languages. What on earth got me into the language profession. I thought I was going to be a teacher. Well, I thought I was going to be an art teacher. That stank, I was not a good art teacher. I thought I was going to be a music teacher, oh, I didn’t like practicing that piano.

Wendy Stuck:

I became a Spanish teacher because I fell in love with Spanish in the eighth grade, had excellent mentors and models. Going through I just knew I wanted to be a teacher. I do have to give a shout out to a beloved family friend, Isidoro Kessell, who basically put me on the path as becoming a language teacher. My superpower, caring about kids. The joke is that I am mama Stuck. You need a Band-Aid? You go see Mrs. Stuck. You’re hungry? You go see Mrs. Stuck. Do you need help on something? You go see Mrs. Stuck. You don’t want to go home, but you need a quiet place to study after school? You go see Mrs Stuck. So my superpower is just loving kids. Have a great day, keep the fire and don’t quit.

Eric Jaworski:

Hello. I am Eric Jaworski. And I live in Virginia Beach, Virginia, right at the ocean front. I can actually walk to the beach from my place. And I am a Spanish teacher at Ocean Lakes High School. And aside from that, I also serve as the STARTalk specialist for our summer program for Chinese and Russian. And I’m at this conference because it’s local. I’m able to attend it because it is local with more ease, especially with the current shortage that we have of substitute teachers, et cetera. And I’m also the President-elect of the Foreign Language Association of Virginia, FLAVA. So I’m kind of getting to help out with the conference a little bit in that capacity.

Eric Jaworski:

And I got into the language profession, I think that it was a trip to Spain is what really solidified my desire to be a Spanish teacher. And so I guess it would be the immersion into the language and culture. I had never had a language immersion experience prior to the trip to Spain when I was in middle school. So I knew ever since eighth grade that I wanted to be a Spanish teacher. And I’m now in my 30th year of teaching. So I guess that would lead into my superpower, which is surviving the teaching profession, which is a wonderful profession.

Eric Jaworski:

Although, you have your moments that can be challenging. But aside from my… Okay, so my superpower be aside from being able to cook pretty well, I am a ballroom dancer and I play the piano. So I enjoy those hobbies, of course tennis. But I don’t know if tennis is a superpower or not, but that would be me. The target language right now, which was English. You know what I mean?

Norah Jones:

So what we’re doing is Eric and Laurie and I are talking about the production of these little vignettes and how difficult it was. Eric, what were you reflecting on when you were answering the questions?

Eric Jaworski:

So I had multiple things going on in my mind at the same time. So I wanted to make sure I was answering the question adequately, but at the same time I had to juggle the information that I wanted to convey to the listener. And the weird thing is it’s in my native language English, but yet it’s challenging when you have all of these things you have to think about. So I could see how perhaps my linguistic ability, which would be much higher than what I just conveyed with this speaking sample in English. I think that my language abilities is much higher than what I just conveyed, but because I had these multiple things going through my mind while I was reading the prompt, I was not able to really demonstrate, I think sufficiently my capabilities of communicating in the English language.

Norah Jones:

Interesting. And we’re sensitizing ourselves all the time as world language and educators to what it is that we put our students through.

Eric Jaworski:

Yes, yes. And I have to agree with that. And it does make you aware of the fact that some students may not want to speak about themselves or just might be shy. So even just like, even when we do have students recording class, if we have them do a recording, they may not like to record, like even just now, if I know I’m being recorded I’m thinking, I don’t feel as comfortable when I know I’m being recorded as I do when I am not being recorded.

Norah Jones:

Interesting. Isn’t it?

Lori LeVar Pierce:

That we raise that anxiety level too, and that’s a big deal with students these days is how much anxiety they’re dealing with. And you add that in your brain doesn’t function as well.

Norah Jones:

And so what do you think is part of dealing with that? You said Lori about anxiety level can be strong for students. We don’t want them to be super anxious in addition. So what do you think speculating here on the spot are some of the things that you already do or that we educators should do so that the anxiety level is lowered or we scaffold their understanding that it’s safe.

Lori LeVar Pierce:

That’s what I was going to say. Most of those, so the easy answer is we do it as much as possible, so they get used to it, right? And it gets easier every time. But we also build their learning and lower the stakes. Right. Just do it. I’m not going to grade you. I’m not going to… What I do in my class, I probably shouldn’t admit this in public. But I have a paper towel holder I just pop them on the head, if I hear English, it becomes fun, right?

Norah Jones:

Just note to listeners: the kids like it!

Lori LeVar Pierce:

They do.

Eric Jaworski:

I was going to say and I think it’s also important. I think within that framework of the gradual release of responsibility, you are building in that anxiety reducer. Because when you get to the point where it’s a, you do you have them do it collaboratively, so they have a chance to work with each other before they move to that independent phase. And some other strategies you can use in a classroom that could reduce student anxiety is, rather than presenting in front of the entire class let’s go ahead and we’ll be presenting in groups of three. So you’re only presenting to two people instead of to 28 people or 30 people. So that kind of helps reduce anxiety with some of the students I think.

Lori LeVar Pierce:

This year I have definitely implemented it. I used to have students present in front of the whole class. And I have not asked them to do that all year. It has been in small groups or just one on one with me. And then you model, you start that off. I was also thinking you started off when you allow students to volunteer, who wants to speak before you start calling on the students who haven’t spoken. So they see that modeling and what it is that is you’re getting, it gives them a little bit longer to process. And so then by the time you’re calling on a few individual people, they’ve had a chance to know, to practice in their head and know what they want to say.

Eric Jaworski:

Yeah. And of course, when they have that opportunity to work collaboratively, I always tell them, I said, “There are moments where you’re going to be a leaner, and there’s moments where you’re going to be a lifter.” So when you’re in that group be aware of, are you a leaner or are you a lifter? And it’s okay to sometimes be a leaner. You just can’t be a leaner all the time. Sometimes you have to be a lifter also. So making them with that reflective piece is how are you, what are you doing in that group? What was your contribution in that group, when you were in your group, what did you contribute to that group? And were you mostly a leaner or were you mostly a lifter? Now set a goal for yourself for the next time we do this and see if you can become more of a lifter and less of a leaner.

Norah Jones:

It’s interesting that’s very much of a coaching, yesterday when I was doing a workshop on integrated performance assessments, talking about doing them as possible daily.

Lori LeVar Pierce:

Right? Every day’s an IPA.

Norah Jones:

Every day is an IPA, could be. And to keep the momentum going that this is natural human language and to train, to be coached and then to train to coach oneself and to gently help to coach others. And that is really beautifully said, Eric, as far as what role do I play and where do I need to go next? Oh Thank you, Eric. Thank you, Lori.

Eric Jaworski:

Thank you.

Lori LeVar Pierce:

You’re welcome.

Lori LeVar Pierce:

I am Lori LeVar Pierce. And I live in Columbus, Mississippi, and I am one of the World Language teachers at the Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science. And I’m at this conference to learn some more things about teaching world languages and to see some friends and make some connections with other professionals.

Lori LeVar Pierce:

What got me into the language profession? So my maiden name is LeVar, which is French, but we didn’t know anything about the heritage and French was the only language offered as a foreign language in my high school. So I signed up for it and I had actually a very bad French teacher who was a wonderful teacher. I loved her personally, but I didn’t learn very much. But I also knew that either my time was going to be wasted, having said it, and I was going to forget everything, or I was going to keep doing this until I was fluent. And so I did.

Lori LeVar Pierce:

And at that point I didn’t know what to do with language other than teaching. So I majored in a French minor in German. And well, then I did my student teaching, hated teaching, went and got an MBA, worked in corporate market research, stayed home with my kids and then came back into teaching at a fabulous school. My superpower. So I have a little button that says that my superpower is “Ich sprache Deutsch,” or “Je parle francais.” But that doesn’t set me apart from anybody here. Yesterday in the leadership lunch, and I said my superpower was parallel parking. Because I do it every day at school. So because I’m usually the last one to get there and that’s the spot they leave for me.

Jennifer Carson:

Hi, I’m Jen Carson. I live in Norfolk, Virginia, where SCOLT is happening right now. I have so many titles and roles, I can’t even remember right now. I’m Adjunct Faculty at ODU, which is a local university. I’m a National Language Consultant with Vista Higher Learning. And I am the Teacher Education and Professional Development Chair of the Foreign Language Association of Virginia. And I’m here to learn and to see my friends.

Jennifer Carson:

This is the first face to face mask optional conference that I’ve been to since the pandemic started. So I’m embracing a lot of friends and making new friends. I got into the language profession sideways. I was a lawyer, but I was also a speaker of French, English and Spanish. And then one day I realized I didn’t have to be a lawyer. I could be a French and Spanish teacher, so I did that and I’m still doing that. I guess my superpower is being flexible because that meant that I was able to pivot and do something I really love and share my passion for language learning and culture learning and leave the law behind. So I encourage you to be flexible.

Zaneb Meljane:

Hi, my name is Zaneb. I’m from Morocco and I’m here in the US as a TA in teaching Arabic at Washington & Lee University. And I came with the Fulbright Program, which I encourage everybody to participate in. And what got me into language profession is that I really love languages. I enjoy all languages. And I was talking to James before about this, and I said, “If I had to make a wish, I would wish to speak all languages in the world.” But now I can speak Arabic, English, French a little bit. And I’m taking Japanese, which is super cool, but super hard and giving me a hard time.

Zaneb Meljane:

I encourage everybody to just learn as much languages as they can, because they’re just fascinating. What’s my superpower? It would be so far just speaking the languages I have now and I know for now. And maybe speaking, like talking, I really enjoy talking. I would consider it my superpower because I don’t have either any superpower. So yeah, speaking.

Wu Qiong:

Hello, everyone who is listening to my speaking right now, my name is Wu Qiong. And I’m originally from China. And right now I’m teaching Mandarin in Washington and Lee University. Well, why am I at this conference? I will say, I’m always eager to learn about different teaching techniques. Anything that can help me better to become, to teach my students in classroom. Anything that can help my students to become a better language learner then I’m for it.

Wu Qiong:

And what got me into language profession? I will say it’s every time when I help someone, when I help a student and then they come to me and say, thank you. And I really enjoy the moment I can witness the improvement and the growth of one individual student. I’m very happy for them. And I can feel with them, I can identify with them. That’s why I’m a teacher, I guess. And my superpower, I will say I can keep an awkward conversation going. Like, there’s always something for me to say. I can always ask for things, but sometime I also make conversation awkward, but it’s okay. I got it.

James Dupray:

I am James Dupray. I currently live in Florida. I currently work as an Account Manager for Wayside Publishing. I am attending this conference as an exhibitor, but also a lover of language and that is what got me into the language profession. I was a French major and I also have dabbled with various languages and I’m currently learning more Spanish. And I am a big advocate for people to study other languages. It helps increase your worldview. And there’s so many great opportunities that come from learning another language and learning about another culture and travel and the delicious food.

James Dupray:

My superpower, I would say would be my ability to connect to people and my empathy. I love to learn. I love to grow. And regardless of your age, your walk of life, your ethnic background, there’s always some commonality and also something that you can learn and take away from others, and also in turn give. So that’s a little bit about me and thanks for having me.

Tracy Peterson:

Hi, my name is Tracy Peterson. I’m from Chicago, Illinois. I am an EL Business Solutions Consultant with Data Recognition Corporation. I’m at this conference, I’m working to bring about awareness about language, authentic language proficiency assessments. Got into language profession simply because I adore languages. I moved to Spain, fell in love with the Spanish language, and I love helping students. My superpower, I think is my empathy and desire to always put myself in a position where I can be an advocate for students, especially emergent bilinguals and language lovers.

Yeider Guerra:

Hello, my name is Yeider Guerra. I live in Rock Hill, South Carolina. I’m a Spanish teacher and World Languages Department Chair of my school, Rock Hill High School. Why am I at this conference? Well, last year I was the best presenter of the SCOLT conference at the South Carolina Foreign Languages Association. And then I got to be here. So I was sent as a representation of South Carolina.

Yeider Guerra:

I am into languages, I knew I was going to be a foreign languages teacher since I was a seventh grader. This is my calling, this is my vocation. This is what I love doing. So I love languages, I love learning about other cultures, about traveling, about seeing different perspectives, seeing the world through my students and other people’s eyes. And so that’s why I love, and I love helping students build and grow in their language learning journey. So that’s what I do. I don’t teach them. I help them grow.

Yeider Guerra:

And what is my superpower? Well, I love creating free resources for other teachers and students and for free. Because I know developing, listening and reading comprehension skills in students is something really difficult to develop. So I decided, you know what, let’s try to create resources, authentic resources for students to use in the classroom for teachers to develop comprehension. Because when they speak to a native speaker or they listen to native, they don’t understand most of it. So I create resources for them. So my superpower is creating free stuff for classes.

Norah Jones:

You are the best at conference for South Carolina. What are you presenting on?

Yeider Guerra:

My presentations’ name is Developing Listening and Reading Comprehension Skills with Free Spanish Resources, that’s what it’s called. So yes, I created a whole product with a plethora of resources, and then the idea is to show teachers how to use their resources and how to help students develop the listening comprehension skills and some also reading skills. So that’s what I do.

Lori Kissell:

Hi, this is Lori Kissell. I live in Stafford County, Virginia, and I am a teacher of Latin in Spotsylvania County, Virginia. I have come to this conference to interact with lots of friends and colleagues and meet new friends and colleagues and learn new things. What got me into language? I have always loved words. I don’t remember not being able to read. And I got hooked on mythology first from the north, because that was the book in the school library. And then through Greek and Roman, and from there connected to more words into more history.

Lori Kissell:

So if I have a superpower, it’s that I teach a world, not a language. We cannot hop into ancient Rome, we cannot hop into the ancient Mediterranean, but if I can give you enough and let you explore enough through the power of the words and images and relics and archeological artifacts and maps, then maybe you can see the same world I see, that doesn’t exist anymore.

Andy Dykema:

Hi, my name’s Andy Dykema. I live in new Orleans, Louisiana. I am a high school Spanish teacher at Morris Jeff Community School in the Joseph S. Clark Building in New Orleans, Louisiana, the Tremé building the Tremé neighborhood. I’m at this conference to learn more, learn as much as I can about and get some new perspectives on language teaching also to share the magic of Desmos, which is a presentation tool that helped me a lot during the pandemic. And I think has the help potential to help other language teachers. So I’m doing a session tomorrow.

Andy Dykema:

And I kind of always wanted to be a teacher in response to the question what got me into the language profession. But my first sights were set on being a band director for a long time, but then in 2008, after I graduated from grad school, I needed a job like quick. And I had a kind of a found a last minute opening teaching Spanish at the Denver Arts and Technology Academy and loved it. So I’ve been doing that and still doing music education I found or discovered that I was also good at orchestra conducting. So I do that with the youth orchestra.

Andy Dykema:

But what I love about teaching language is the possibility of getting students to open their minds and learn about other cultures and learn about other people and really communicate in the language that goes to other people’s hearts. And I think my superpower is that, is showing people that the connections that language can make and the different paths that it can set you on. And also my creativity because I have a lot of different ways, a lot of different tricks up my sleeve and ways to relate to students and way to explain stuff. So I’d say my superpower is connection and creativity. Okay. Thank you, Norah.

Lisa Harris:

Bonjour. My name’s Lisa Harris. I am the Coordinator of World Languages with the Virginia Department of Education. And I have been in this role for a little over 11 years now. And I am at this conference to finally come back to in person connections with the awesome world language community, and see folks that we have been connecting with virtually for the last two years and start to regain that in person communication ability. That’s stagnated just a little bit.

Lisa Harris:

I started out in this profession as a French teacher at the middle school level, and then at the high school level. And I became a French teacher because of the influence of an early teacher I had when I was in elementary school, when we had the opportunity to participate in an additional program. And we had a wonderful teacher who pulled us out and taught us some French and a little bit about the French culture and I was hooked and came into it and decided that I was going to join that profession as well.

Lisa Harris:

If I were to think about a superpower, I would say that it is team building. Because we are so fortunate that we have such amazing professionals in this field, in the State of Virginia and in our region and in the whole SCOLT community, that bringing folks together to share their collective abilities and wisdom and passion makes outstanding results when we get them together. So I like to think of myself as a facilitator of professional expansion because when world language professionals get together, it’s synergy and it’s the power to an exponential degree. So my superpower is amplifying that of others.

Bobby Hobgood:

Hello, my name is Bobby Hobgood. I am from Charlotte, North Carolina, and have the honor of serving as the President of the Southern Conference On Language Teaching, SCOLT this year. That is why I’m here today, this conference. But my day job is as the Director of the Language Resource Center in the Department of Languages and Culture Studies at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte. I also am blessed to be able to teach a couple of undergraduate French courses and Advanced Foreign Language methods in the College of Education.

Bobby Hobgood:

So I’m at this conference for a number of reasons. I mean, obviously as president I’m supposed to be here and I want to be here. But frankly, I’m at this conference because I had a fantastic mentor when I first started teaching, who looked at me one day after school, along with some other department members and said to me, “In the fall, there will be our state foreign language conference, you are going, go ahead and put this on your calendar.” And as a novice teacher, I didn’t question this person, but I also didn’t know what is that what’s going to happen there.

Bobby Hobgood:

But it took only that one experience for me to understand immediately the power and the necessity for educators to participate and to be engaged in that kind of professional development. And so fast forward to today, I attend not only my state conference, which by the way I presented at every year, since 1996 without missing a year. Yeah, I’m that old. But I also present every year at SCOLT and at ACTFL.

Bobby Hobgood:

I do so because I believe strongly in giving back to the profession, what it is given to me. And I realize that one of the best things I can do as an advocate for the profession is to make sure that my voice is heard by others who then can carry on after, when I decided I can’t really walk the halls anymore and be a part of a conference. I got into the language profession while it was not a straight path. I was supposed to be a dentist. I went to college, studied Biology with hopes of going to dental school.

Bobby Hobgood:

But while I was making C minuses and Ds in my science courses, I was at the same time making A’s with a little effort in my French courses. So my advisor said to me, “Okay.” And this was at my junior year, “Go to France for a summer.” And that got me hooked on languages. But then the education piece came later when he said, “Now go and speak to this person.” And somebody knew the universe, this advisor somebody knew this is where I should go and I love it.

Bobby Hobgood:

My superpower, I think is being able to communicate my passion in a way that is heard and understood by others. And so I was told recently, and I really hadn’t thought of it this way, that I have an ability to code switch. And so whether I’m talking to a room filled with university faculty, university, administrators, K12 teachers, or fourth graders, I’m able to switch and change registers in a way that we’re all the same. And we see the humanity in one another, not age, not titled or positioning.

Caroline Kelly:

Hi, I’m Caroline Kelly. I live in North Carolina, although clearly I didn’t grow up in North Carolina. But I’m married a North Carolinian, so he and my children don’t sound like I do, but I’m happy to tell you that they all know a second language or a third language as well. I’m at this conference because I teach Latin. It’s very important for me that Latin teachers learn from teachers of all other languages. Because we are all in the same business of communicating, teaching kids to communicate in a different language and to understand the culture that the language comes from.

Caroline Kelly:

What got me into language profession. I love languages. I was not planning to teach, but we needed to make a little bit of money. So I ended up teaching Latin, which I hadn’t ever planned to do, but that’s where I ended up. And then somewhere… Why are you at this conference? One reason I’m at this conference is I have all these wonderful people, Norah among them who along the way have said, “Hey, have you thought of this?” And if you know Latin, well, if you know the word furtive, you will not be surprised to find out that the word fur means thief. And I’ve often thought for my last presentation at a conference, because I’ve been going to conferences now for 20 years and mostly presenting.

Caroline Kelly:

My last conference will be Magistra Fur, as in the teacher as a thief. And it’s really only just borrowing, I borrowed from all these people, including Norah, including somebody I just saw the other day who pushed me into getting involved in leadership in FLANC. And then FLANC said, “Oh, well you should consider SCOLT.” And then I ended up serving for SCOLT on the actual board, which was rather unusual for Latin, but all your Latin teachers out there, we got to be at the table because we are a language too.

Caroline Kelly:

What’s my superpower? Well, you know what? It’s not language it’s that I love kids. And if you love kids, they’ll find out. I’m now teaching online community college. And so I never see my students, but somehow they know I love them. Partly because I email them and I don’t have very many students. So it’s easy to do, but loving my students, caring enough to find out where they are and then meeting them there and then saying, okay, we can go further together and we do it. Thank you Norah, for your work. Thank you for your program.

Heidi Trude:

Hey everyone. I am Heidi Trude. I live in Northern Virginia. I am a French teacher. I am also the FLAVA President and I am on your SCOLT board of directors. Why am I at SCOLT this year? Because I have missed in person conferences so much. I’ve missed communicating with my language, friends, seeing them in person learning and growing and collaborating because we are better together. We’re better with each other. We need to learn. We need to reconnect. We need to recharge ourselves and we need to reflect on what we’ve been learning, what we’ve been going through and how we can continue to advance our profession.

Heidi Trude:

And when I think about what got me into the language profession, I think back to the time that I was a student at Liberty High School in Bealton Virginia, sitting in Madam Haraway’s French class. And it was just in that moment, there was something about her that was magical. I connected with her with the language, the people, the culture, and it was at that moment I just knew this is what I wanted to do. I wanted to get more in depth with that language. I wanted to be that teacher, that individual who would open the world for other students.

Heidi Trude:

So I kind of had that inkling in high school, but it wasn’t really until I got to college my senior year. And then I was like, this really is what I’m supposed to do. When I started tutoring the chaplain’s daughter at our college and really saw that connection happen between a young learner who had never had any language experience to see her growing with the language, seeing that proficiency develop with her. And then it was like, okay, this is what you’re going to do, Heidi, this is your calling.

Heidi Trude:

And then I had to figure out how do I even get into teacher ed classes, now it’s like the second half of your senior semester in college, you haven’t had a single education class, but thankfully you’re a French major. What are you going to do? How do you make this work? So well there’s grad school for that thankfully folks. And that’s what I ended up doing. Don’t recommend writing your master’s thesis your first year of teaching at the same time. Probably it’s doable, but after doing it, I would say, don’t go that track unless you have lots of time on your hands.

Heidi Trude:

So that is how I got into the profession. I absolutely love it. And I’ve been doing it for 14 years, almost 15. And I would just keep encouraging those of you who aren’t in it yet and kind of considering the profession, just give it a try it super fun., It re energizes me being with my language colleagues, my students, just seeing those worlds open. That’s my joy. That’s what inspires me. It’s my why. And it’s what keeps me going.

Heidi Trude:

And if I were to think too on my superpower, I think it’s the way I connect with individuals and also the energy and enthusiasm that I bring as well as always being perpetually optimistic. No matter what situation we’re facing, teaching in a pandemic is hard. But I’ve always looked for those wins in each situation, whether it was okay today, I had a kid turn a camera on, on a Zoom Meet or a student who’s never engaged, actually participated in an activity is looking for the little things. And I take those as wins instead of getting bogged down by all the negative that’s in our society, just always look for joy. Find your magical moments. Find those people who bring you joy and keep doing what you’re doing.

Become a Sponsor

2 thoughts on “Episode 66 – Lifelong Learning: IAL at SCOLT Part 1

Leave a Reply