In 2004, I started my French teaching career at Wilson Central High School. At that time, I had one Latin and 2 French classes for only one semester. Since the schools was new, I did not have enough classes for both semesters, I was the only French teacher at the school. I learned quickly that if I wanted to have more students in my French classes, I needed to have a plan for enrollment. That year I charted out a plan to increase the enrollment in my French classes. This plan can work for any new foreign language teachers.
Step 1 - Appreciate your students
This step describes what every good teacher does every day: caring about your students, learning about their school activities, their future plans. I treated all my students with kindness and consideration.
1. I sent weekly positive emails to parents congratulating their student .
2. I displayed student's work in my classroom and in the hallway.
3. I created a "Tableau d'honneur" that is displayed in my classroom. I chose a student of the month to be honored for each level of French, I also included students' pictures.
4. At the end of each semester I will give out certificates to my students who received "A" in my French classes.
5. I asked my students to promote French to their friends and to their younger siblings.
Step 2 - "Registration Fair"
At my school, in January we have a "Registration Fair" for the eighth graders. This recruitment event takes place shortly before the students register for the following year. During the event I will have 2-3 students who are the type of students who are admired by the others. They will help me passing out to parents and students a handout "Why Learn French?" that I created before the event.
Step 3 - Collaborate
A. It is very important to talk to your guidance counselors about encouraging students to sign up for a second foreign language as an elective. I asked for their help in encouraging eighth graders to sign up for French.
B. I was surprised to find out that the culinary teacher at my school loved French culture and she understood my interest in promoting French in my school.
I asked the culinary teacher to teach my students how to make a King Cake for Mardi Gras, while I was teaching her students the history of the King cake and Mardi Gras.
Step 4 - Recruit from foreign language department
As an European, I had to study 3 foreign languages starting with fifth grade until I graduated from high school. During our PLC meetings, I encouraged all my colleagues in the department to promote the study of more than one foreign language with their students. I emphasized all year how easy and fun the second language will be. Most students are unaware of how the first foreign language can help in learning the second foreign language. I always give my background as an example, I am a Romanian native speaker, teaching French through English.
In my French classes, I had students who took Spanish before or they were Hispanic native speakers. I gave them a lot of attention to these students asking them in class to compare and contrast the languages studied. I also told my students how much better it looks on their transcripts and college applications to have 2 foreign languages instead of some other electives.
Step 5 - Create a French atmosphere
It is very important to surround students with French. I filled my classroom with posters, realia and students' work. I asked the librarian to showcase my students' projects. In March, for the past 5 years, I prepared my students for the National French Contest. All the contest winners' diplomas are displayed in my classroom for students' recognition.