My time at IFLT (International Forum on Language Teaching) was absolutely the most incredible and rewarding experience of my life. It was also the most exhausting, challenging, draining, and stressful experience of my life!
I was invited to be a learning lab teacher, by Carol Gaab (one of the people I idolize in our industry). I wrote a post about the anticipation of the conference and when I got there the anticipation didn’t subside. I truly had no idea what to expect. I was VERY fortunate to have traveled and roomed with Sara Broussard, the young BRILLIANT lady taking over my position in the lower school this year, and my Jenny Wetzig from Denver. Jenny and I “grew up” as teachers together in Denver Public Schools and both learned under Diana Noonan’s genius. She is the calm to my crazy. Two of my other really great friends and HUGE mentors came from Denver too! Mark Mallaney, and Paul Kirschling. They were AWESOME and supportive too.
I was allowed one day with my students to “get to know them” and build some rapport before the doors would be opened for teachers to observe me. This was a great day, and my students were adorable little rock stars. The next day, I was so nervous I could hardly eat, and the first two people to walk through my classroom door were Mark and Paul. Two of my greatest mentors were there to observe ME! WHAT?! That is crazy…. They were so supportive and said everything I needed to hear. The first day I had a pretty small crowd observe me, probably only 20-25 people between the two sessions. HOWEVER, those incredible teachers, spread the word and by the end of the week my classroom was JAM packed with people and many were standing! I was blown away! Contee Seely snuck into my room everyday too, which was a HUGE honor, and I had teachers of all grade levels and all languages stop me throughout the conference to thank me or tell me about something they learned or observed. I was SO blessed to have this opportunity. I learned so much about myself as a teacher, and some of the things that I have worked SO hard to perfect and tighten up over the years, I learned, through the eyes and ears of other teachers have now become my strengths.
Learning Labs are such a powerful tool. The teacher leaders, and the teacher observers both learn and take away so much from them. I truly believe they are the best thing about the IFLT conference. It is something so unique and special. For me, the only thing I regret is not being able to sneak in on the other teacher’s labs! They are all such INCREDIBLE teachers! This year, Donna Tatum-Johns, Grant Boulanger, Joe Dziedzic, Jason Fritz, and Linda Li were on the learning lab team. Such a power house of teachers! YAY!
Some of the many presenters, and participants at the conference wrote blogs about me or posted Youtube videos of my teaching. I have pasted the links that I know of below. If you know of more please let me know so I can leave links here! Thank you thank you thank you!, if you were one of these people. It means so much to me, and it helps me grow so much as a teacher to read about what I do from an onlooker’s perspective. YAY!
Martina Bex (YES! I KNOW!) wrote a really fun blog post about her observation time in my room. You can find it, along with a video, here.
Justin Slocum Bailey wrote a GREAT blog about when and how we should use the student’s first langauge in the classroom. You can find it here.
Claire Ensor, an expert in ELA, wrote a blog on the importance of “being yourself”in your personality and your dress. Your kids will be more comfortable if YOU are more comfortable. She included a picture of me and the kiddos in one of my frufru loca dresses. You can read her blog here.
Cecile Laine wrote a blog about her overall experience in the learning labs at IFLT and you can find it here.
Mr Toda makes me tear up when I read his blog. He wrote so many mind blowingly flattering things about me. I don’t know how to take it all in! He is wonderful! You can find his blog here.
Many people are waiting with baited breath for my power point presentation, especially the Mickey Mouse story. I will have the STORY portion posted for FREE on my Teachers Pay Teachers account by the end of next week if not sooner. I don’t think I can share the presentation though, due to copyright issues with the photos. But I think I have a solution so stay tuned. My teachers pay teachers account is in the process of getting set up! There is another teacher with the name “La Maestra Loca”on TPT, and it is not me. Working on a different account now. 🙂 GRACIAS! for your patience!
La Maestra Loca