Earlier this month, teachers from across the country gathered in New York City to attend the Northeast Conference for the Teaching of Foreign Languages. Longtime ACIS Group Leaders and teachers Beth Marshall and Jeanne McCoy were there to present on the heroes of the Francophone world, and the story of their continued friendship represents the core of what ACIS is all about! Hear in their own words how ACIS travel has created a bond that will last for years to come.
Beth: It was actually in Europe that I met Jeanne McCoy. In 2014, I was at an ACIS Global Conference in Paris for Thanksgiving weekend. She was a French teacher from South Carolina with a twinkle in her eye with such a passion for France that I remember wishing that she lived in my state of Virginia so that I could have continued the dialogue about good teaching practices after we both returned to the US. Fast forward to 2020, both Jeanne and I attended the global conference that year in Bruges. I remembered that dazzling smile, and re-introduced myself. After that weekend, which was packed with chocolate, Belgian beer, travel stories, sprinkled always with powerful conversation and laughter, Jeanne and I exchanged contact information.
Jeanne: I remember meeting Beth in Paris over Thanksgiving weekend in 2014. Her enthusiasm was contagious and her confidence inspiring. I remember thinking how lucky her students were to have her guiding them both in the classroom and around the globe. Back home months later, I regretted not exchanging contact information with her! Nevertheless, I was blessed to run into her again, this time in Bruges over an MLK Global Conference for ACIS Group Leaders in 2020. I remember recognizing each other and laughing as she approached me with a huge smile and a generous hug. And at the end of a delightful conference in Belgium, I made sure we exchanged contact information; no way did I want to lose touch this time around!
Six weeks later, the world froze as the pandemic forced us to teach virtually and re-think all that we knew about classroom teaching. We began to collaborate on lessons that would encapsulate the joy that we have found in the French language and culture for our students. Little did we realize at that time that this was going to be the most impactful collaboration of our lives. Over the course of the last three years now, we have worked together through countless Google Meets, a million Google docs and a few in-person and virtual conferences to continue to create lessons which engage and empower our students in both Virginia and South Carolina. The NECTFL weekend was our fourth time presenting together, and not only do we enjoy sharing what we have created with other teachers but, more importantly, we treasure the opportunity to continue to collaborate and push ourselves to create more lessons for our students which will give them opportunities to understand their role as global citizens of the future.
When will we see each other again? Who knows, but if we have any say, it will involve us reconnecting in another country. Norway’s Global Conference in summer of 2024 is looking pretty promising!
I wholeheartedly encourage any ACIS Group Leader to take the leap and sign up for an ACIS Global Conference as soon as you can! Not only will you gain confidence to lead your students abroad, but you will also meet like-minded teachers and perhaps even a friend and collaborator for life.