Thursday, February 14, 2008

Virginia Tech -- Remembering A Teacher

I was reading the Roanoke Times on-line and was really moved by this article. One of the professors who died was a French teacher, and some of her students created a French immersion program at a Blacksburg elementary school in her honor. I was recently asked if I thought Tech could recover from the shootings, and initially I thought it was a bit of a strange question -- of course they (we) would. But as I read this, I saw that even though people are moving forward it's obviously something that still affects everyone. Two of our friends were friends with Jocelyne. It was an absolutely tragic loss, among many others.

Jocelyne Couture-Nowak was a very talented, enthusiastic teacher of the sort who would come home exhausted after teaching young students but still find the time to sew a kangaroo suit to use in class. Her husband saved her teaching props and the Tech students are using them for inspiration to create their own. It's great to see the partnership between Tech and the local schools developing in this particular way. I'm thinking of contacting someone at Harding Avenue Elementary or VT Engage to see if there's anything they'd really like to have from France since it seems that they are trying to expand it to other elementary schools and are asking for more funding. I did my first ESL volunteer work at Harding, part of my student internship and also taught summer school there, so I'd love to help out if I can.

Anybody have ideas of things that might be useful for them?

(cross-posted on Pardon My Franglais)


French for a While said...

I can certainly relate to the article: I am from DC (not too far from VaTech; my own kids went to a French immersion school; I am a teacher myself. I now live here in France and continue to be shocked by the university shootings like Tech or the one yesterday.

Sarah said...

How about a book of comptines and fingerplays with a CD of native speakers singing/saying them? Kids love doing fingerplays, and the motions reduce the number of words that have to be translated for the kids to understand.

I was working as a French teacher last spring during the VA Tech tragedy, and my students and I raised money to contribute to the scholarship established in her name. Read about it here: