This video struck a chord with me. I recently returned to the US after four years of living abroad in El Salvador and Colombia, and teaching EFL. Having picked a bad month economy-wise to come back (July), I ended up taking a job teaching high school Spanish in Eastern North Carolina. I was hoping to find an ESL position, but it didn’t work out, and I love Spanish as much as I do English! The school I’m at made a huge pitch to me that included lots of support for using technology in the classroom, which is for me, an essential part of teaching today.

I started working with my students halfway through the semester, and have run into many walls not only with technology, but with resources and curriculum in general. These are not yesterday’s students…they’re today’s. Although the students are classified as “poor” for the most part, the majority walk into my room with at least a cell phone, if not also some kind of MP3 player or video game system. Or more than one! Problem is, they can’t use them, but they’re allowed to have them (which means they’re going to use them).

Many of my students have problems concentrating and are easily distracted, and listening to music does help (they’ve shown me that). But, we can’t do that. Many of their phones can connect to the Internet (but we can’t do that either). There’s 5 computers in my room, plus a laptop and dataprojector, which I was excited about at first, until I figured out that almost anything I would want to use is blocked. All audio and video material is supposed to be board-approved before it is used as well. I understand why, but at the same time, don’t see that as realistic. Content changes every day, which my students and I know, but others seem to not. Students also have no way to email from the school, which means that setting up accounts

I’ve spent the past 9 weeks surviving, trying to adapt content to encourage communication and interest, to incorporate ways to use the language to create, but feel that I failed.  But I’m not close to being done trying, and can’t wait to get my hands on some new ideas that will actually work!  There’s so much more that I have to say about my students, but…I just realized that this is the seventh year I’ve participated in EVO sessions, and the first where I haven’t been actively involved in teaching ESL or EFL. I think that there’s a lot that I can learn from this session, Multiliteracies and Collaboration and am really looking forward to it!

Advertisements