As dual language immersion spreads across the country, so too have the sources of our nominations for the Dual Language Teacher of the Month Award. This is a true reflection of the growth in opportunities for educators seeking to help students grow in dual language immersion programs.
We are honored to recognize Jen Temple of Bear Creek Elementary School in Bend, Oregon as the Dual Language Teacher of the Month for March 2017. She was nominated by Kinsey Martin, the Dual Immersion Program Coordinator of Bend-La Pine Schools. Kinsey Martin's words not only reflected Jen's commitment to family partnerships and professional development, she also helped clarify what expectations of dual language schools when they seek educators.
Here are some great insights from Dual Immersion Program Coordinator Kinsey Martin on the ways Dual Language Teacher of the Month Jen Temple goes above and beyond expectations of her teachers:
What are optimal traits that you seek in dual language teachers?
We seek teachers who have a passion for language and literacy, who have a heart for equity and advocacy, who value family partnerships and cultural diversity, and who are collaborative, positive and proactive.
How does Jen fit into or outshine this mold?
Jen embodies all of the above! She has a genuine empathy for each student, parent and colleague with whom she interacts, and she proactively develops strong relationships with each member of our dual language community. She strengthens our program one partnership at a time. Jen is a kind and caring colleague, and comes to work each day with a positive attitude. She constantly seeks out new strategies and professional development opportunities, and is always adjusting and refining her classroom practice accordingly--her pedagogy is defined by rigor, innovation, reflection and heart.
Her pedagogy is defined by rigor, innovation, reflection and heart.
Why do you think Jen creates and fosters relationships with students and families?
I believe Jen fosters strong relationships with families because she genuinely cares about each child and family. Her students matter to her as individual human beings and I believe her deep commitment to each student's personal and academic growth enables her to create such impactful relationships.
What opportunities has Jen created for families to support their children's education?
Jen is a key player in helping develop each program Parent Night and helps ensure that those events are family-centered and impactful--this is work she dedicates on her own time. Beyond special events, Jen reaches out to families and invites them into her room to participate authentically in the day-to-day learning process. She organizes social events for her classroom community and helps connect families from different backgrounds who otherwise would not interact with one another or with the school community.
Jen reaches out to families and invites them into her room to participate authentically in the day-to-day learning process.
What shining example of professional development has Jen sought out and implemented in her classroom?
Jen had the opportunity in a previous district to participate in some Literacy Squared research and professional development. When she moved to our district, she did not leave those practices behind, even though they were not required in our program. Rather, she has been reflective, creative, collaborative and proactive in adapting those highly-effective strategies to our program model and to her classroom design. As a result, her biliteracy instruction is rigorous and responsive to student needs, and incorporates a strong focus on language development and cultural competence. Other teachers in our program have benefitted from Jen's work in this area.
Her biliteracy instruction is rigorous and responsive to student needs, and incorporates a strong focus on language development and cultural competence.
Continue reading to learn about Jen Temple's perspective of her role as an educator in a dual language immersion setting.