Claudia Faggioni, BEd’16
Claudia currently teaches French to adults and has done so for a number of years. She works hard to ensure her classes are lively, interactive, and fun! Read about how Claudia used the shift to at-home learning and socially-distanced teaching in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic to bring her lively, interactive classes to the online world.
Tell me about your current role.
I’ve taught French at UBC with the Extended Learning Program since 2011 and I have also been a teacher with the Vancouver School Board since 2017. I first completed a Master of Art History in Switzerland, then a master’s degree in teaching French with a focus on adult learning in France, and finally, a Bachelor of Education in 2016 from UBC in Vancouver.
Why did you decide to pursue a career in this field? Why did you choose to teach?
I began teaching adults in Switzerland, and decided that I’d continue to do that in Canada. Teaching French is really a passion of mine. I’m not just teaching the language — I’m teaching students about the culture and the people, too. When I started teaching at UBC, I realized that I loved teaching French to people of all ages. This realization is what prompted me to pursue my second master’s degree and eventually my BEd so I could teach in public schools as well.
What were some challenges you faced over the past year? How did you overcome these challenges?
I really like to keep my classes super interactive so I was nervous about making the transition when we all switched to online learning amidst the pandemic. I was sort of at a loss of how to attain the same level of engagement and interaction through Zoom. We had a bit of a rocky start — nobody knew when to speak, people kept forgetting to mute/unmute, and a great portion of the class was spent working through these technical hiccups, laughing at ourselves in the process. However, we made it work. I’m really lucky to have an incredible set of students who were very patient with me as I worked to figure it all out, and an amazing set of colleagues who remained supportive and encouraging.
When learning a language, students, especially those at the beginner or intermediate levels, may often feel a bit shy about practicing aloud. I would notice that in the physical classroom students would be a bit reluctant to speak because of this. However, in the Zoom space, students had the freedom to control their microphones and felt so much more comfortable practicing in the comfort of their own spaces with the knowledge that no one could hear them. They expressed feeling more confident in their abilities as a result of this.
What has been your greatest success over the past year?
Definitely seeing that the students were responding so positively and were making great progress despite the altered circumstances. I was so nervous that the pandemic and working from home would have rid my classroom of the community feel that I had worked so hard to foster. However, after leaning into the change, we found a way. Now, our community feels stronger than ever. Take my Saturday morning classes for example. Not many people enjoyed waking up early on a weekend for class, but with working from home, the vibe is so different. Everyone’s relaxing with a cup of coffee, and sitting in their PJs with their pets on their laps. It has brought a whole new level of comfort and community to the classroom. It was lovely to see that people could truly do what they want and express themselves freely while thoroughly engaging in class.