On Saturday morning, a group of us from the Membership Portal met via Zoom. I was so excited to see people! The group of us, from various parts of the country, first just took some time to check in and see how everyone is doing after the first week of distance teaching for most of us. Three themes arose from that conversation.
1. We are all still trying to track down all of our students and figure out what distance learning means for students without internet and with a very different kind of ESL support.
2. We are all valuing relationships and communication with students, families, and each other over everything else.
3. We are proud of our schools and how quickly everyone came together to make the most of a very difficult situation. Forced innovation is HARD and our schools are rising to the occasion.
With that being said, we then shared ideas for how we are trying to engage our beginning English learners in this process. While...
Years ago (1993-2001), I taught in an innovative school that was K-3 and multi-age with 80% of the students in the ESL program and 100% within the school system's designation of poverty level. I loved my school and I especially loved my teaching team (many of whom are still my friends today). Our principal encouraged us to think outside the box. We had so much freedom and the students thrived. One of the creative solutions from that school was the creation of a teacher position called the "Teacher Without Walls". See, we had funding for more teachers, but no space to create more classrooms. The Teachers Without Walls joined forces with the large ESL team and we traveled from classroom to classroom, pushing in, setting up small group rotations, coordinating efforts.
Our current times reminded me of this experience. We always said, there's opportunity in chaos. We are all now teachers without walls. So, how do we make the...