A TpT Teacher Spotlight on Megan Kirby, a French teacher at Portola High School.

We have a community of dedicated educators who use TpT resources as a tool to solve the unique instructional challenges they face. Meet Megan Kirby, a high school French teacher who’s building an interdisciplinary curriculum from scratch with TpT.

 

Title: French Teacher
Location: Irvine, CA
Teaches At: Portola High School
Teaching Experience: 3 years

Goal I’m working toward…
Creating my own material for TpT!

Best advice I ever received…
Your students might not remember all of the verb endings for the subjunctive tense, but if they can communicate with others and have a desire to understand other cultures, you’ve done your job.

 

“THIS IS ONLY MY THIRD YEAR OF TEACHING FULL-TIME. I started teaching the same year that a brand new high school opened here in Irvine, CA. I did my undergraduate studies in theater and French, so I started teaching French, drama, stage tech, and dance. After growing the visual and performing arts program here, I was able to hand those classes off, and transition to teaching French full-time. The first year, we just started off with French 1. Now, we have freshmen through juniors taking French, so I’m teaching three different levels.”

 

“OUR COMMUNITY IS VERY ACADEMICALLY-DRIVEN AND ACADEMICALLY-FOCUSED. The parent population has high expectations for rigor, and they expect students to be well-rounded. So when the high school opened 3 years ago, we decided to focus on interdisciplinary learning so that our students can have a deeper connection to the subjects. Throughout the year, I’ll work with our music department to study French opera or work with the history department to do a unit about France’s involvement in World War II.”

A mural on the front of Portola High School that reads "Bulldogs."

“ONE OF MY BIGGEST CHALLENGES, besides my newness to the profession, is that I’m the only French teacher. Which means I’ve had to build a curriculum that’s engaging and valuable to the students from scratch by myself. And to keep that cross-curricular mindset, I can’t just rely on any one textbook or curriculum provider. While I have a support text, I only use it for some things. I’ve also tried to use materials from other subjects and translate them into French, but doing that is very time-consuming. So I’ve been using TpT resources to help me navigate all the subjects that I’m not strong in. History is not my strong suit, for instance, but I can easily find some really strong history resources for my French students on TpT that I can pull in.”

 

“TPT HAS SO MANY ACTIVITIES THAT INCORPORATE MULTIPLE INTELLIGENCES and modes of communication, which is vital for world language classrooms. It’s so exciting to see my students work together on authentic and meaningful activities that are so creative and fun! There is such a variety of types of materials that can be found. I can’t think of another resource that is as diverse, accessible, and creative as TpT.”

 

“EVERY TPT RESOURCE I’VE USED IS BASED ON SOMETHING THAT SOMEONE HAS TRIED before and found success with. As I look to build my curriculum, that’s something that’s been extremely helpful for me. I can see that someone else did it and that it worked for them, so it’s likely that it will work my students and their needs. It takes out the margin of error.”

A view of Megan Kirby's empty high school French classroom.

“I FOUND AN INCREDIBLY WELL THOUGHT OUT ESCAPE ROOM-type activity for my upper-level French students. I would not have thought of this activity on my own, but it helped get them thinking in a way I never would’ve imagined they could. My students were SO proud of themselves when they finished it. The look of accomplishment on their faces — and my lack of stress over creating authentic activities — was so worth it!”

 

“I FEEL LIKE I AM SO MUCH BETTER EQUIPPED TO MEET THE NEEDS of my students, especially since I’m not second-guessing myself or scrambling to scrape things together. It has saved me time, helped me build a curriculum that I know is successful, and helped me stay confident in my own teaching practices. I will also add that at my school we have teachers who come from different places and have a lot of different experiences and views on teaching. But the one thing that we can all agree on is TpT is a life-saver!”

 

We’re never more inspired than when educators tell us about the things they’re doing in the classroom with TpT resources. So, we’d love to hear: how have TpT resources helped you succeed? Share your story here.