21 September 2014

Blessed teacher

Day 21 - Reflective Teacher Blogging Challenge

Do you have other hobbies/interests that you bring into your classroom teaching?

I'd like to start of by saying that I am truly blessed to teach what I teach. Interacting with my colleagues who teach other subjects has really shown me that I have much more freedom to bring almost anything into my classroom and make it appropriate.  I'm not saying that these other teachers don't do what they can to bring their interests or hobbies into their teaching but I find it even easier being a language teacher. As a language teacher, I can find almost anything as a teachable moment and as something relevant to my students or what we're studying.

Music - I LOVE MUSIC-- even though I have not a musical bone in my body. I can't carry a tune or play an instrument but I can usually recognize a song in very few bars. I have gotten goose bumps listening to certain songs and have even been brought to tears.  I find it difficult to work without listening to music. I could easily forego the television for quite a while but ask me to go a day without music and I just don't think I could bear the thought!  That said, I am able to incorporate my love for music into my classroom often.  I will often play music in the background (Italian only , of course) while students are working.  I will post extra credit where students need to view a music video and answer some questions.  My students have also done projects on contemporary Italian music.  Many times, they even download songs to their iPods and are so proud to tell me.  I also use songs to teach grammar points and themes, as many of my fellow language teachers do.  My iPad is always on at home on ILR Italian radio as is my computer at school and I have encouraged all of my students to do the same to help with their language skills and to just enjoy some really great music.

Cooking - I think you'd be hard pressed to find someone who doesn't appreciate Italian cooking.  I love to cook and at various times during the year, I will reward my students with some homemade cooking.  Usually, there is some sort of challenge involved like everyone performing at a certain level on a test or a certain amount of time using the target language only.  They then get to vote on what I'll make --lasagne, baked siti or some other pasta dish is usually what they want.  In my upper levels, I have had them create cooking magazines to teach them how to give instructions (in Italian, you have three different ways of giving instructions).  They will usually also create a cooking show where they teach us how to make something and then bring it in!

Travel - Perhaps the BIGGEST advantage to being a language teacher and having an extremely supportive administration is that I get to take my students to Italy every other year.  Travel, for me, is one of the best educations you can get.  Nothing can ever compare to seeing/experiencing something first-hand.  I have been to Italy now on 7 different student tours (aside from having lived there for almost 2 years).  These trips really give me an opportunity to share my passion for all things Italian with my students.  In certain places, like Florence, my students see me transform from classroom teacher to tour guide extraordinaire. They usually can't believe how much I really know about where we are.  It is an amazing feeling to turn my students into world travelers.  Many of my students have gone on to do study abroad programs and many in Italy.  How awesome!  The additional perk for me is that I customize all the tours so that we visit major attractions and some lesser known areas. I always want them to see the most they can and have a unique experience.  It also helps me visit places I haven't been to!

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