Are you a new Dual Language teacher? Congratulations! I know you might feel overwhelmed and in need of help but I promise you things will get easier.
Luckily, I’ve got some tips for you to help you be the best first year dual language teacher you can be!
Learn the program
When I first started teaching I was fresh out of college and STILL had a million questions about bilingual education. My school didn’t have a Dual Language program at the time. We followed an early exit bilingual model. I was so confused. Was I supposed to be teaching in English? Spanish? BOTH?!
Make sure you learn what program your school is following. Ask your administrators. Will you be teaching on your own? Will you be part of a two teacher model?
Dual Language is an amazing program but there are many models out there. Be sure to ask the right questions to your colleagues and administrators.
Work with your colleagues
Whether you’ll be teaching both languages or not, collaboration is essential in every teaching job ESPECIALLY in Dual Language!
It is important that if you are a two teacher model you align your instruction as much as possible. My partner and I plan together and we know exactly what the other one will be teaching and how.
If you are as blessed as I am to have a wonderful team, make sure you ask for guidance, plan together and LISTEN to their suggestions and advice.
Teaching shouldn’t be a lonely job. Share, collaborate, work together. It will make your life easier.
You’re probably thinking: What?! I’m done with college, I don’t need this! Well let me tell you friend, you gotta keep reading, researching and learning. The good news is there are many ways you can continue growing as a professional. Read professional development books, follow bilingual educators on Instagram, attend conferences, check out ideas on Teachers Pay Teachers, read what Dual Language educators have to say and take what is helpful for you. There are many educators out there who are willing to help!
Learn your standards
Ok, I admit it. This one you should be doing even if you’re not a Dual Language teacher. Learn what you will be expected to teach and get familiar with the content. Start looking at the first month and go from there.
Start early (if you want)
If you are growing impatient because it’s summer and you want to get a head start, create a list of the items you will need in your classroom and slowly start putting it together.
What kind of organization system will you be using? Will you have two classes? Will you color code each language?
Are you required to have a word wall in both languages?
Is there any material you can begin creating: posters, reference material, labels?
All of those are things that you can easily begin planning during the summer.
Do these only IF YOU WANT. If enjoying your summer will make you happy and help you be a better teacher then do that!!
Know that bilingual classrooms are “different”
All I mean is that your bilingual teaching shouldn’t look exactly the same as your monolingual partner next door. Plan together BUT it is important that you adjust according to the needs of your kids.
Bilingual kids are amazing! But we often forget that teaching them is not as simple as “just do it in Spanish”.