Connection is the Key
Angela Gardner, OFLA Public Relations and Advocacy Chair
Spanish Teacher, Ross High School
First and foremost, I hope that you are all either safe at home, or, at the time of the publication of this article, healthy and free to engage in activities outside your home and feeling safe to do so.
I don’t know about you, dear reader, but this exercise in social distancing, distance learning, and general upheaval has left me feeling overwhelmed and exhausted. Still, the importance of our roles as language educators remains a light and a joy to me.
I am deeply grateful for the opportunity to connect with my students via video conferencing platforms, as well as through a digital learning management system. Now, more than ever, I am glad to be an educator in a discipline that connects people to one another. I sense the relief and joy my students experience when we are able to communicate in small groups in our video conference to conduct speaking activities.
I still get to bear witness, albeit digitally, to students’ zeal in learning about other cultures, in tasks like a writing activity where we had blanked out text from “El Condorito” comic strips and then wrote a comparison of that comic and one such as “Garfield”, or “Calvin and Hobbes”, or even a familiar meme.
Our presence is a gift to our students. As we work our way through this time of challenge, let’s remember the important value of connecting with our students and supporting them. This connection, as much as ever, is a tremendous vehicle for advocacy for the future.
Our students will remember how learning a language made them feel connected, valued, and sparked their curiosity long after the passing of any cultural and social milestone. Hopefully, this will also serve them, and our world, very well.
Teach on, my friends.