SPOTLIGHT ON NEW TEACHERS: Adele Smith-Buisset
Megan Brady, OFLA Beginning Teacher Committee Chair
Spanish Teacher, Marlington Local Schools
The OFLA Beginning Teacher Committee is working hard to connect with new teachers and to support them in becoming excellent, innovative, resourceful, and long-lasting world language teachers. Our goal is to provide a network of resources, strategies, and tools for new teachers. We want new teachers to know that they are not alone and that OFLA is here to help them. To this end, we will be interviewing new teachers throughout the year and highlighting them in The Cardinal. Adele Smith-Buisset is a French teacher at Unioto in Chillicothe, Ohio. This is her first year teaching French.
- What is your favorite thing about being a teacher? The connection with the students and being an active participant in their growth is my favorite thing.
- What made you want to teach? When I was a teenager and a young adult, I was a counselor for several camps and loved working with kids. I always knew I wanted to work with kids. I was drawn by the relationships I built with them and by making a positive difference in their lives. My second year of college, I was a guest speaker in a local high school, and that day confirmed that I wanted to be a French teacher. The kids were so interested and excited about learning a new language and culture, and having the chance to be a part of that felt incredible.
- Who has had the biggest impact on your teaching and why? Brigitte Moretti-Coski. She is a professor at Ohio University, and I was blessed to work under her as a teacher assistant and adjunct professor for the university for two years. I learned so much from her.
- What is one thing you learned from another teacher that helped you this year? I can only do my best, and that is good enough!
- What is a project or lesson in your classroom that you are really proud of or happy with? The very first day of school, I had the students do a cultural activity (I did not create the activity). They were all given a piece of paper with something weird to do, such as turning their back to people when someone speaks to them. They had to walk around the classroom and when I clapped in my hands, they had to pair up and have a conversation while doing the weird thing on their paper. We did that several times, and afterwards we had a class discussion. The students loved the activity but acknowledged feelings of awkwardness and self-consciousness because they had to act differently. They quickly realized that the purpose of the activity was to experience culture shock. I was very pleased with all the discussions and happy that they quickly were able to make connections with how people from different cultures must feel when exposed to a new culture/language/country. The activity seemed to have made a positive impact on the students. It triggered a good discussion, and they seemed to have fun!
- What is one thing that you have struggled with as a new teacher? Time management and balancing work life and home life is a struggle. I have a family, and my daughter is only 14 months old. Between lesson planning, creating materials, and meetings, I barely have time to be with my family and no time at all for myself. It’s been extremely difficult meeting deadlines and staying organized in all other aspects of my life. Being a teacher is definitely a FULL TIME job, and it is very consuming. I’m looking forward to having more years of experience and enough lesson plans under my belt to find a better balance in my work and home life.
- What advice do you have for new teachers? Take it one day at a time; do your best; love the kids; and always have something on the side to help you relax and find yourself again (but also… if you can… plan ahead! Lesson planning is so time consuming!).