This article originally appeared in the Language Educator and is reprinted with permission from the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages.
The ability to collaborate and advocate beyond the classroom and across stakeholders, from department chairs to administrators to parents, is a crucial teacher leadership skill. Moreover, the critical shortage of world language teachers, combined with the diminishing number of U.S. students taking world language courses, means that teacher candidates in this content area must be strong advocates for their own profession from the moment they step into the classroom.
During my time as the world language advisor and methods instructor at the University of Connecticut’s Neag School of Education, I have become increasingly preoccupied with the scarcity of world language teacher candidates, especially as compared to other content areas. I have wondered how our current candidates could apply their emerging leadership roles in ways that would encourage K–12 students to both continue learning languages and to also consider careers in world language education.