mega888 Brain Food – Path 2 Proficiency

I tweeted earlier this week about getting my brain food ready in preparation for the TELL Collab in Austin, Texas, this weekend, and it really got me thinking about the kinds of ways we teachers feed our brains even on summer break. I don’t know about you, but whenever I’m engaged in some serious thinking–from taking exams to preparing them to collaborating with colleagues–I get seriously hungry because I almost feel the same kind of tired as if I’ve just worked out! In the same way I’m ravenous after a good session in the gym, I’m tired, hungry, and a little sore after a good collaboration and planning session with colleagues.

But it’s the middle of June, and summer break is in full swing. Why think about the next school year and working with colleagues now that the school is already over? I don’t have to go back until the fall; we’ll have a more collaborative year next year.

The thing about being a teacher is that we’re always thinking and planning and talking and researching, and often as soon as the year is over, we’re reflecting on how to make the next year even better. There was a post on edutopia last summer entitled “The Myth of Having Summers Off”, and it’s an excellent read because we teachers are constantly on the lookout for new ways to feed our brains, even in the summer, even during our “off” time. Like in the gym, we seek out new ways to train our brains in order to help our students make the gains they need as they become more proficient in their target languages. I use the Pocket app (thanks for the suggestion, Amy!) to organize authentic resources as I’m just searching through my Twitter feed and come across something I might be able to use in my class. Just because we’re not in the classroom during the summer months doesn’t mean we’re not

TELL-Collab-full-color copyAnd there’s the TELL Collab. The TELL Collab is one of the most tiring and refreshing PD opportunities I’ve ever been a part of because it not only gives us the space to ask questions about best practices, the sense of the Collab is to encourage asking those questions in order to help us language teachers be equipped to move our students along the path to proficiency. Also, the spirit of the Collab is to collaborate with colleagues who are also along the path to proficiency in their teaching. Like in the show American Ninja Warrior, teachers at the Collab are both encouragers and participants in the sessions. No one is left out on their own to attack the course because too much is at stake for our practice and our students.

This year, I’m excited to be heading back to Austin and the fantastic setting at the Center for Open Educational Resources & Language Learning for a truly remarkable, open, fun, brain-stretching, and tiring experience! I’ll just stop by snacks table in between sessions to refuel and maybe to stretch a little in between sessions.

Make sure to follow Path 2 Proficiency on Twitter and Facebook for updates and Hot Seat sessions from the TELL Collab this year! And, of course, check out #tellcollab on various social media to hear what participants are saying!


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Published by Paul Jennemann

Paul Jennemann is the coordinator of an elementary school dual language immersion magnet program, has served on the curriculum revision team, and has facilitated district-wide professional development with Shelby County Schools (TN). Paul holds undergraduate degrees in Spanish and French and a graduate degree in Spanish with a focus on language acquisition and pedagogy. Paul lives in Memphis, Tennessee, with his wife and two sons, where they love to go to the park, go to the zoo, and cook together.