French Gone Virtual


For the first time this year, the students in French have experienced a teacher being in quarantine for a full two weeks. The French students had a lot of questions and not many answers. French instructor Carrie McCabe had a lot of work to do to make sure her students were still learning.

“What was really hard was making sure that there were activities that were doable on the computer, even though sometimes that isn’t the best way for kids to learn,”  said McCabe. “The limitation in technology meant that I couldn’t get that sense from them, meaning if they were getting it or not. I wasn’t able to gauge how well the lesson was going.”

While learning any foreign language, a big part of it is talking with the teacher and getting hands-on learning. Junior Luci Laidlaw, a French 3 student couldn’t agree more.

“With some other subjects, it might be easier to do online because teachers can just give you the work, and you can complete it on Google Classroom,”  said Laidlaw. “But with us, a lot of learning is based on just interactions, so it is pretty difficult when the teacher can’t be present.”

Laidlaw wasn’t the only one who felt this way. Even McCabe and other students felt this way. In a French class, everything is based on hearing and responding with the teacher. You are learning a foreign language.  If you learn it wrong, it is pretty hard to switch it after a while. Junior Conner Folkers, a French 2 student, was also nervous.

“We were kind of worried of the possibility of learning things the wrong way,” Folkers said. “You learn better when there is a teacher there to correct you.”

While there are limitations to the technology and the restriction of interaction, there is also the underlying factor that it just isn’t helpful to everyone in the classroom. There just isn’t that presence.

“I personally prefer when we’re all in the classroom, as long as we can all do it in a safe way. I just think you get the most out of your learning that way,” Laidlaw said.

Even Folkers said, “Virtual learning is not conducive towards the students or the teachers. There are just so many variables, and they don’t end up working out.”

Somedays, McCabe would be on the iPad and the students would put earbuds in and listen on their computer, and learn that way. But, that was only less than a week because then McCabe started feeling sick and just gave the sub lesson plans.

Mrs. McCabe had detailed lesson plans and made sure to answer all my questions,” said Eve Fairchild, the sub for the second week.

But after a while, it got harder because she wasn’t there to answer those questions the French students had. 

“It’s just helpful to have that teacher there to help you with questions,” Laidlaw said. “[But when we were reading our French book] It helped us in a way to be able to learn to figure out things on our own, even though it was difficult.”

In spite of the major disadvantages of having a teacher in quarantine, especially a language teacher, Folkers found the bright side.

“We watched a movie for two days,” said Folkers. “It was pretty great!”